Publicis Sees Its Q1 Revenue Decline

NEW YORK Publicis Groupe said its first-quarter revenue, dragged down by the weak dollar, fell 4.3 percent to $1.1 billion. Organic growth, excluding the impact of foreign exchange and acquisitions, actually improved 4.4 percent.

Maurice Levy, chief executive of the Paris-based holding company, said growth was especially good in North America, the Asia-Pacific region and Latin America. The company is well on its way to meeting its objective of a 15 percent operating margin for the full year, he said.

While Europe still lags the rest of the world in the industry recovery, Italy and Spain posted a strong first quarter and he expects France and Germany to show some modest growth in the second half, though conditions in Northern Europe continue to deteriorate, Levy said.

He lowered his growth expectations to just above 3 percent for the year from earlier predictions of 2.5-3.5 percent. “The U.S. will be solid. Growth will come from Europe, Asia, Latin America. In Europe I think we’ll start to see recovery in France and Germany, which will help since they are such large markets,” Levy said.

The company generated more than $1 billion in net new business in the quarter, with 40 percent reflecting gains in advertising and marketing services, while 60 percent came from media buying and planning.