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Havas to Reorganize as Revenue Declines

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BOSTON Havas on Thursday reported revenue for the first half of the year of approximately $945 million, down nearly 20 percent from the first half of 2002, and down about 8 percent based on constant exchange rates. The Paris-based holding company said it is undertaking a reorganization of operations in an effort to improve its numbers.

Havas said it won about $1 billion in new business during the first half of 2003, down more than 5 percent based on constant exchange rates. Second quarter revenue fell 7 percent to about $490 million.

In a statement, Havas noted that "a strong deterioration in Europe and in marketing services, principally in the United Kingdom," aversely affected its performance. Exchange rates, with a 23 percent increase in the euro's value relative to the dollar, also hurt, the company said.

The reorganization, spelled out in the most basic terms, is designed to provide Havas was a "simplified, rationalized" structure avoiding any duplication, the company said. To that end, the Havas' global clients will be principally developed by the New York-based Euro RSCG network, with the smaller Boston-based Arnold offering "a real creative alternative" to clients in key markets, the company said.

All Havas units now providing "specialized services" will be integrated into Euro RSCG or MPG, the company's global media network. Companies that "do not represent a strategic advantage for Euro RSCG or MPG will not be able to remain in our organization," the company added, though no elaboration was offered. Details of the reorganization will be released on Sept. 18.

"We believe that to ensure our future we must position ourselves as an attractive alternative to the choices available to clients today," said Havas chairman and chief executive Alain de Pouzilhac in a statement.

Havas' shares have traded around $5 of late on the Nasdaq stock exchange.