Despite Europe’s sovereign debt crisis and continuing economic slowdown in key markets, Publicis Groupe said 2011 revenue rose 7.3 percent to $7.7 billion, with net income climbing 14 percent to $791 million for the year. Organic revenue, which excludes acquisitions, increased 5.7 percent.
Publicis offered a glimpse into the changing mix of its operations: In 2011, digital accounted for nearly 31 percent of revenue, up from 28 percent in the year-earlier period. (Organic growth in those operations outperformed general market conditions and rose nearly 14 percent.) High-growth economies now compose 24 percent of overall revenue compared to almost 23 percent in 2010.
At other company practice areas, advertising accounted for 31 percent of revenue in 2011 compared to nearly 33 percent in 2010. Media was down to 19 percent from 20 percent. Other speciality and marketing services, which include digital practices, now account for 50 percent of revenue compared to 47 percent in 2010.
Latin America, bolstered by gains in Argentina, Venezuela and Colombia, posted the highest level of organic revenue growth for Publicis Groupe, rising 8.8 percent. Africa and the Middle East followed with an increase of 6.1 percent, despite instability in the Mideast. Organic revenue in North America climbed 5.9 percent, thanks largely to gains in digital operations, which now account for 46.4 percent of the region’s revenue.
Asia-Pacific posted a 5.7 percent increase with somewhat uneven performance: While China saw organic growth rise 8.5 percent, Japan is still registering declines. Europe was the weakest-performing market for Publicis Groupe in 2011, although the holding company’s home market of France registered an 8.2 percent increase in organic revenue.
In releasing the 2011 results, the Paris-based holding company also said its Starcom subsidiary’s loss of General Motors’ media account represents about 0.5 percent of Publicis Groupe’s annual revenue. Starcom’s contract with GM officially ends in June when the carmaker moves its business to Carat, after a recent global consolidation.
Publicis Groupe also said it had launched a friendly takeover of Germany's largest digital communications agency, Pixelpark, with the bid receiving support from Pixelpark's management.