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Havas Lifts Revenue 8%

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Havas Advertising, the world's fifth largest advertising company, on Wednesday reported that comparable billings and revenue grew about 8 percent in the first quarter from the period last year.

Paris-based Havas posted quarterly billings of approximately $3.2 billion and revenue of about $485 million, based on the current rate of exchange. It did not report on income.

Without adjusting for currency fluctuations and acquisitions -- mainly the purchase last year of Snyder Communications -- billings and revenue grew more than 60 percent for the quarter.

First-quarter results were "in line with our short-term objectives," Chairman and CEO Alain de Pouzilhac said, crediting the bulk of the improvement to "sustained development" in media planning and diversified agency operations, which grew more than 10 percent in spite of the soft advertising environment.

Among other ad holding companies, Interpublic Group reported a 6 percent increase in first-quarter revenue. True North, in the process of being acquired by Interpublic, lifted revenue 8 percent, Omnicom 16 percent.

New business lifted Havas' billings about $786 million, or 4.5 percent, for the quarter versus the period last year. Acquisitions made during the quarter represent annual revenue of $45 million and include San Francisco-based Black Rocket for the Euro RSCG network and Sydney, Australia-based Brandhouse for the Arnold network. Arnold's more recent purchases of McKinney & Siver and Simmons Durham were not included in the figures.