Publicis '08 revenues flat, slowdown in Q4 organic growth

PARIS: Publicis Groupe reported revenues of about $6.1 billion for the year ending December 31, 2008, a 0.7% rise in sales from the year prior. Net income for the year was about $577.8 million, compared to $584.2 million a year ago.

PARIS: Publicis Groupe reported revenues of about $6.1 billion for the year ending December 31, 2008, a 0.7% rise in sales from the year prior. Net income for the year was about $577.8 million, compared to $584.2 million a year ago. Organic growth totaled 3.8%.

Maurice Levy, chairman and CEO of Publicis Groupe, noted in the earnings release that growth "slowed in the fourth quarter." Fourth quarter revenues were $1.78 billion, up 5.5% year-over-year. However, organic growth remained flat at about 1% in Q4, a drop from previous quarters. In Q3, for example, organic growth was 3.9%.

Despite the economic recession, the company reported 16.7% operating margin, which Levy called a “record level,” and more than $5 billion in new business. Publicis does not break down its results by company or sector, but counts MS&L, Kekst & Co, and Publicis Consultants PR among its holdings.

The digital business represented 19% of revenues for the year, up from 15% the year prior. Revenues from emerging economies were also up from 21.3% in 2007 to 22.9%, with the company predicting that figure will reach 25% by 2010.

Levy acknowledged that 2009 will be “one of the most difficult years that the world has had to endure for decades,” but he remained optimistic about how Publicis will fare.

“This is the year to win market share and consolidate our margins,” he said in the earnings release.

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