Publicis revenue up 1.3%, organic growth down 4.4%

PARIS: Publicis Groupe revenue for the first quarter was up 1.3%, but the company still experienced a 4.4% decline in organic growth.

PARIS: Publicis Groupe revenue for the first quarter was up 1.3% from the same time period last year, but the company still experienced a 4.4% decline in organic growth.

Q1 2009 revenues totaled $1.42 billion (1.075 billion Euros). The company also reported $1.7 billion in net new business.

In its earnings release, the company noted its results were “cushioned” by the growth of its US digital activities and “steady performance” from emerging markets such as Latin America and the Middle East. Digital activities accounted for 20.5% of total revenue for the quarter, an increase from 17.6% year-over-year.

The Specialized Agencies and Marketing Services Group (SAMS), the group that houses the communications businesses including MS&L Worldwide, accounted for 41% of total revenue, including 100% of digital activities. The statement said the North American region, which saw a 3.6% decline for the quarter compared with Q1 2008, was “resisting better” due to digital.

“Forecasts suggest that the low point will be this summer, with the second half of 2009 proving better than the first,” said Publicis Groupe chairman and CEO Maurice Levy in the earnings release. “Recovery is expected in the summer of 2010. The latest indicators support that view.”

While Levy has said that Publicis' PR business is down, Jim Tsokanos, president of MS&L North America, points to the recent hires the firm has made, including Joe Carberry who will be Western regional president effective May 18, and the growth possibilities that the current economy proposes. He said public affairs, corporate, and digital, where the firm seeks to go “deeper into social media and mobile,” are areas where the firm will continue to invest.

“For us, when everyone else is cutting back, we're making investments,” he added. “The stimulus package that the president has put forth will provide lots of opportunity in government, healthcare, financial services, and energy.”

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