Havas’ 1Q Revenue Rises 2.6%

BOSTON Havas today reported a modest 2.6 percent rise in first-quarter revenue to $420 million, compared to the first three months of 2005.

At constant exchange rates, revenue fell about 2 percent; on a like-for-like, organic basis, it dipped nearly 2.5 percent, according to the Paris-based holding company.

Havas attributed the sluggish performance in part to several key losses from 2005, including the exit of the North American Volkswagen business from its Arnold and MPG units, as well as the departure of the global Intel account from its MPG and Euro RSCG operations.

“The first quarter of 2006 is the first quarter not to include the Volkswagen advertising account. It therefore has the drawback of being compared with a strong pervious period which included the Volkswagen and Intel revenue,” Havas said in a statement.

A general downturn in the healthcare communications sector also had a negative impact on the numbers, the company said.

Havas noted a surge in net new business during the quarter to more than $790 million, compared to a gain of just $50 million in the same period a year ago.

Key wins included a portion of the $200 million pan-European France Telecom Orange business (which Havas now shares with Publicis Groupe), as well as assignments from Disney, ExxonMobil and Lee Jeans.

In terms of regional organic growth, Havas enjoyed its biggest revenue gains in Latin America (19 percent) and Continental Europe (6 percent), while it saw declines in the Asia-Pacific region (down 10 percent), North America (down almost 7 percent), Great Britain (down 2.5 percent) and France (down 1.5 percent).