Havas Suffers Dismal First Half

BOSTON In line with its holding-company peers, Paris-based Havas, undermined by cuts in client spending amid the lingering recession, today reported a dismal first-half performance.

In the first six months of 2009, net income fell 18.7 percent to about $57 million on a 7.4 percent drop in revenue to slightly more than $1 billion. In organic terms, excluding the impact of acquisitions and currency fluctuations, revenue dropped 9.2 percent.

The company, which owns Arnold, Euro RSCG and MPG, offered no guidance for the remainder of the year.

In organic terms, revenue was down in all regions in which Havas competes, falling 10.5 percent in North America, 8.9 percent in Asia Pacific/Latin America and 8.5 percent in Europe.

On the plus side, the company said digital communications now makes up 16.4 percent of its overall business and grew 5 percent during the first half.

Havas achieved 10.2 percent operating margin during the first half vs. 10.9 percent a year ago.

Speculation has risen in recent weeks that Havas and U.K.-based Aegis Group — in which Havas’ chairman Vincent Bollore is the largest single investor — would move toward a merger in order to gain critical mass and better compete against larger rivals.

Aegis chief John Napier on Friday said there are no talks underway between the two companies.

See also:

“Aegis Group Swings to First-Half Loss”

“WPP Group Suffers First-Half Declines”

“IPG’s Q2 Revenue, Income Plummet”

“Omnicom Takes Big Hits in Revenue, Profit”

“Organic Revenue Slides at Publicis”