Havas Reports Flat Revenue in 2013

North America hurt results

Havas, blaming the company’s performance in North America, said 2013 revenue was $2.4 billion, and fourth-quarter revenue came in at $703 million, which was slightly down from the year-earlier period.

The Paris-based holding company said full-year organic growth rose 1 percent and, in the fourth quarter, increased 1.6 percent.

Yannick Bolloré, who succeeded his father Vincent last year at the head of Havas, said in a statement:

“We ended 2013 with growth of 1.6 percent, which represents a significant acceleration over our growth rate in Q1 2013. This improvement was underpinned by solid performances in Europe and sustained growth in Asia Pacific,” he said. “Our North America business is recovering, with a new team in place and increased commercial momentum … We head into 2014 with dynamism and serenity, and we maintain our internal targets of organic growth above that achieved in 2013.”

In reference to that new team, last month David Jones exited his job as CEO at the holding company and its namesake network. He was replaced by Bolloré and Andrew Benett, previously global president of Havas Worldwide, respectively, in those roles. A month earlier, Robert LePlae, CEO of Arnold, left the company, with Pam Hamlin, president of Arnold Boston, taking over as global president.

Bolloré’s comparison of the company’s most recent growth with that in the first quarter of 2013, when Havas posted a 0.9 percent decline in organic growth, is probably the best spin the company could put on results given comparisons to competitors. This week, Omnicom, Publicis Groupe and Interpublic all posted higher rates of growth in 2013.

Havas said its North American operations reported a decline in revenue of 1.2 percent in the fourth quarter and 1.7 percent for the full year. The company blamed the impact of certain account losses at Arnold and a “temporary softening” at Havas Worldwide’s Havas Health unit.

While most competitors continue to struggle in France’s challenging economy, Havas said its business there performed “well” throughout 2013, with revenue rising 3 percent, driven by its media operations and creative agencies, particularly BETC. The U.K. increased 6.5 percent while the rest of Europe showed mixed results. As a whole, the Eurozone posted a 2.3 percent increase in fourth-quarter revenue growth and 1.4 percent for all of 2013. In the rest of the world, Asia Pacific reported a 5.4 percent increase in 2013 and Latin America, despite posting a 5.6 percent decline in the fourth quarter, recognized a 4.4 percent gain for the full year.