Publicis to 'rigorously' manage costs and 'postpone' expenses

Holding company outlines measures to be 'taken and applied immediately' across all management teams.

Publicis CEO Arthur Sadoun
Publicis CEO Arthur Sadoun

Publicis Groupe has said that it will be "rigorously managing operating costs, including the postponement of some expenses, in order to get through the current situation" caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

A spokesperson declined to elaborate when asked about what costs and expenses might be affected.

Reducing costs is one of three priorities, alongside looking after the health of staff and supporting clients. However, Publicis intends to pay its annual dividend to shareholders, despite the uncertainty and the plunge in its share price – something that other agency groups have also experienced in the past two months.

French-owned Publicis said it would help clients "through this crisis with an unwavering commitment to their business, by providing strategic, creative, technological and commercial support in every field, at any moment and devising ad-hoc solutions to safeguard their revenues as far as possible."

The group said that it has also introduced "strong measures" to protect the health of employees by encouraging staff to work from home and communicate via video-conference systems, as well as suspending travel "wherever possible," as previously outlined by the company. 

"These measures enable the Groupe to ensure continuity in servicing our clients while ensuring the protection of the health of our employees," Publicis said.

Publicis had been struggling even before the coronavirus pandemic, with annual revenue declining last year, but it vowed to boost the dividend by 8.5%.

Shareholders will get to vote on whether to receive the dividend payout in cash or shares.

The company pointed to the "robustness" of its balance sheet, as it has about €4.9 billion of "available liquidity" via its existing financing arrangements, 

Speaking in a video message on Monday, Publicis chairman and chief executive Arthur Sadoun urged agencies to "stay close to [their] clients and their business, even if we can’t be with them in person."

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