Publicis Posts 7% Organic Revenue Gain

BOSTON Publicis Groupe has reported a 50 percent rise in first-half net income to $250 million on a 10 percent revenue increase (7 percent in organic terms) to $2.67 billion, compared to the same period a year ago.

“Our growth prospects remain very satisfactory and we stand by our full-year targets. We also confirm our objective of achieving an operating margin of 16.7 percent in 2008,” Publicis chairman and CEO Maurice Lévy said, in a statement. (The company’s first-half margin was 15.2 percent, an improvement from 14.9 percent in the same period last year.)

Paris-based Publicis attributed the steep rise in income to several factors, including reduced interest charges and an improvement in tax rates.

The company also said it halved its net debt in the past year to $670 million.

Publicis’ revenue surged ahead 40 percent in Africa and the Middle East and rose 11 percent in Latin America in the first six months. The company also posted gains of at least 5 percent in all of its other operating spheres such as North America (up nearly 7 percent), the Asia-Pacific region (8 percent) and Europe (5 percent).

New accounts won in the first half totaled $1.6 billion and included assignments from Avaya, Maytag, Orange, Toshiba and Volkswagen.

Two Publicis competitors also reported first-half revenue gains this week. Omnicom said its revenue improved 7 percent, while Havas said its revenue grew 2.8 percent.

Publicis owns Fallon, Leo Burnett, Saatchi & Saatchi, Starcom MediaVest and ZenithOptimedia, among others.

Since the year began, Publicis has launched Denuo, a company specializing in new technologies and digital communications. On Monday, the company branched out yet again, acquiring Boz, a French healthcare communications agency.