Havas upbeat as Q1 results show modest UK decline

LONDON - Havas, the parent company of media agencies MPG and Arena BLM, said its UK division showed "good resistance" in the first quarter of 2009, with organic growth down just 1.6% year on year.

Chairman of Havas, Vincent Bollore
Chairman of Havas, Vincent Bollore

According to Havas' results, the relatively strong performance in the UK and France was not replicated elsewhere, with total revenue dropping 6% year on year to €325m, and organic growth declining by 8.4%.

Havas said the decline in revenue and growth was due to reduced spending by clients in the financial and healthcare sectors, particularly in the US, and the impact of the loss of computer giant Dell's Asia Pacific media account.

According to the report, ad expenditure declined in southern Europe, impinging growth, despite Havas' declaration that it was in a strong position and increasing market share.

Major account wins, including Magners Pear Cider and Air France subsidiary CityJet for Euro RSCG London, offset the company's business losses, such as Carrefour and Radio Shack.

Net new business was slightly down from €510m in the first quarter of 2008 to €507m, but the company said business remained strong and it expected recent wins to positively impact the group's figures in the second half of this year.

Alongside Havas Media, which consists of MPG, BLM and Havas Sports, Havas owns the ad agency network Euro RSCG and a number of local agencies and networks across 75 countries.

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