Publicis Organic Growth Down for 2002

CHICAGO Publicis Groupe reported 2002 revenue of $3.1 billion, up 20 percent from the $2.6 billion the year before thanks to the acquisition of Bcom3 that was completed last September.

Without the addition of Bcom3, revenue was down from 2001 almost 3 percent, to $2.5 billion, the Paris-based holding company said. Organic growth for the Paris-based holding company was down almost 4 percent.

“The year….was notable for its climate of prudence and uncertainty,” Publicis CEO Maurice Levy said in a statement. Nonetheless, he said the company succeeded in merging Bcom3 and “positioning itself clearly among the “Top “Tier” communications groups.”

Levy also called the decision to close D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles and parcel its accounts, primarily its many Procter & Gamble brands, among the company’s other agencies “a decision that was, at once, both audacious and extremely logical.”

“To date, this has been implemented as smoothly as possible and with very promising success,” Levy said.

Levy said the company was on target to post a profit margin, before interest and taxes, of 14 percent, and is again aiming for 15 percent at the end of this year.

Publicis’ billings for 2002 were reported at $26.4 billion, up almost 50 percent from the previous year’s $17.6 billion, again because of the Bcom3 acquisition and expansion in media buying.