Publicis’ Reports 6.4 Percent Organic Growth, Warns About the Future

Publicis Groupe, home to PR firms including MSLGroup, announced Q3 results today showing €1.42 billion in revenue (about $1.96 billion, by today’s currency conversion rates) and organic growth at 6.4 percent. Revenue has reached €4.12 billion (about $5.65 billion) year-to-date ending September 30. Organic growth has reached 6.9 percent for the year so far.

The company’s SAMS division generated 50 percent of revenue, up from 48 percent in 2010. This division houses Publicis’ PR and digital businesses, including Digitas. Digital generated 30.2 percent of the company’s revenues and experienced 12.9 percent organic growth for the quarter. CFO Jean-Michel Etienne told PRWeek that organic growth for the PR firms is between eight and 10 percent.

(Side note: With all of that digital activity, the company should revamp its website. It’s terrible.)

New business cited includes Microsoft, McDonald’s, and Coca-Cola. Organic growth was greatest in Latin America and Europe (8.5 percent and 8.2 percent respectively); North America came in at 6.3 percent.

Despite all of the good news, the forecast isn’t quite so rosy.

The earnings report predicts “slower market growth in Q4” with “unfavorable comp’s” compared to the 12.4 percent organic growth in Q4 2010. Nevertheless, Reuters reports that CEO Maurice Lévy doesn’t see any signs of a renewed recession.

“I don’t see any signs that we are entering into a recessionary cycle,” he’s quoted. “Some advertisers are being a bit more cautious, but the Olympic Games, European football championships and the U.S. presidential election are all going to be positives for consumer spending next year.”

Reuters also provides further analysis of the landscape for the big holding companies. Omnicom already announced their earnings; WPP and IPG are to come.

Click here for a video of Lévy’s comments on the Q3 results. It’s interesting stuff. And click here for more Q3 earnings info.