Havas Sees Drop in Full-Year Revenue

BOSTON Havas continued to struggle in 2003, reporting a nearly 6 percent full-year revenue dip to approximately $2.1 billion, based on the current rate of exchange.

There was some improvement in the fourth quarter, however, with organic growth dipping 3.8 percent after a nearly 7 percent first-half drop and a 6.5 percent falloff during the first nine months.

The Paris-based holding company said in a statement that it “expects the market to be stronger [this year] than in 2003. As a result, Havas should be able to achieve a return to positive organic growth and a strong improvement in profitability.”

Havas said it dismissed about 1,000 employees in 2003 as part of a sweeping restructuring that saw 19 companies integrated into its Euro RSCG network from its other operating units. In addition, eight units were closed.

The company said its operating margin “was below expectation” at approximately 8 percent, “the shortfall being almost entirely attributable to the fact that Euro RSCG, exceptionally, underperformed in 2003.”

Integrating the 19 companies into Euro RSCG should make it more competitive in 2004, Havas said. Jim Heekin was elevated to chairman and CEO of the New York-based network last month, succeeding Bob Schmetterer, who retired.

In accordance with French accounting practices, Havas will report its net income next month.