Havas’ Revenue Rises 2.8%

BOSTON Riding strong performances in Latin America and Europe but still struggling in North America, Havas today reported a 2.8 percent rise in first-half revenue to $915 million, compared to the first six months of 2005.

At constant exchange rates, revenue growth would have been less than 1 percent. Excluding factors such as exchange rate variations, first-half revenue was flat.

Havas lagged behind two of its global competitors, Publicis Groupe and Omnicom Group, which this week reported first-half revenue gains of 10 percent and 7 percent, respectively.

Havas’ growth was most impressive in Latin America (up 16.5 percent so far in 2006) and mainland Europe (up 8 percent), though it slumped in the North America and Asia-Pacific regions (down 5 percent in each).

Paris-based Havas tallied $1.15 billion in net new business in the first half, not including Euro RSCG’s June victory in Reckitt Benckiser’s $600 million account consolidation review.

Second-quarter sales were up 2.5 percent to $485 million, compared to the same quarter a year ago.

Havas chairman Vincent Bolloré has frequently expressed his desire to leverage and grow the company’s media assets, indicating that he hopes to forge an alliance between Havas’ MPG media agency network and London-based Aegis Group, which owns Carat and Isobar.

Bolloré, who also owns approximately 29 percent of Aegis, last month attempted to install two members on the company’s board, but shareholders rejected the bid. He is expected to call an extraordinary meeting of Aegis shareholders in the fall.

Meanwhile, Havas yesterday named Alfonso Rodés chief executive officer of MPG [Adweek Online, July 26]. His appointment followed the March elevation of his brother Fernando to CEO of Havas. Alfonso Rodés had previously been chief corporate development officer of MPG.

Havas is expected to disclose its net income in September.