Havas Suffers a Full-Year Loss

BOSTON Havas on Thursday reported a 2003 net loss of approximately $475 million, compared with a profit of nearly $50 million the previous year.

The Paris-based holding company said full-year revenue fell more than 17 percent to about $2.1 billion. That figure dipped 6 percent compared with 2002 based on a constant rate of exchange.

The company’s results included an exceptional loss of $275 million, mainly owing to restructuring costs related to layoffs and office closures, and a $265 million charge for goodwill amortization.

According to a statement issued by Havas, the poor performance, “was mainly due to poor forecasting from Euro RSCG, which at a late stage in the year turned out to be over-optimistic. Revenues were therefore lower than anticipated, resulting in cost structure which was too high. This exceptional situation will not be repeated in 2004.”

Havas said that in 2004, it should, “whatever the environment, reap the benefits of its new [streamlined] organization and return to a dynamic growth while boosting profitability significantly.”

The company said it reduced its debt during the year by about $30 million to $780 million.

In addition to New York-based Euro RSCG, Havas is the parent of Arnold in Boston and Media Planning Group in Barcelona, Spain