Publicis’ Q3 Revenue Beats Expectations

In another sign of recovery for the global ad biz, Publicis Groupe today raised its full-year revenue projection after posting a better-than-expected third-quarter revenue gain of 9.2 percent to $1.85 billion vs. the same period a year ago.

Analysts had predicted a 7 percent growth spurt and overall revenue of $1.25 billion.

The Paris-based holding company said it could finish 2010 with growth of 6 percent in organic terms, a measure that excludes the impact of currency fluctuations and acquisitions. (In July, the target exceeded 3.5 percent for the full year.)

CEO Maurice Levy today reiterated that his firm would outperform the ad market this year. Recent estimates have forecast global growth of slightly less than 5 percent.

The especially strong Q3 numbers at Publicis were fueled by growth across all markets (save Southern Europe, an industry laggard all year) and all communications sectors, notably digital, which now accounts for more than 28 percent of the company’s global revenue, up about 6 percent from last year.

In terms of geography, North America, which accounts for half the group’s business, led the way in Q3, with growth of 12 percent. Asia-Pacific and Latin America each clocked in at 9.8 percent. Africa and the Middle East rose 6.5 percent while Europe was up 5 percent.

For the first nine months of 2010, Publicis reported organic growth of 6.6 percent to $5.4 billion.
Publicis’ numbers bested the performances of two key competitors, Omnicom Group and Havas, which both reported quarterly and year-to-date gains this week.

The fourth quarter will present a tougher test for adland’s comeback, however, as the recovery had already begun to some extent in Q4 ’09, making gains for Q4 ’10 more difficult to achieve.