Havas Posts 5.7% First Half Organic Growth

Havas reported a 2.7% revenue increase for the first half of 2014 to 844 Euros, which is about $1.1 billion at today’s exchange rate.

Organic growth for the period was 5.7%, while net income grew nearly 7%.

The first half numbers represent a marked improvement over year-ago results for the same period, when revenue was up just 1% and organic growth was just 0.5%.

It was just a year ago that Havas CEO Yannick Bollore succeeded his father Vincent as chairman of Havas. Earlier this year, he took the CEO reins from David Jones, who left the company.

Net new business for the first half of the year totaled nearly 1.3 billion Euros (about $1.7 billion), up sharply from a year ago when the company reported 838 million in net new business for the first half of 2013. Contributing to this year’s tally were assignments from Paypal, Disney, Barclays, Sanofi, Liberty Mutual and KAO USA.

“Havas delivered very satisfactory first-half organic growth,” said Bollore. “All our regions reported growth and certain ones, including the UK, Asia Pacific and Africa showed double-digit growth.”

In North America, the company said that growth “accelerated” in the second quarter with revenues up 4.5% for the first half. The company cited the New York and Chicago offices of Havas Worldwide and Havas Media as having “performed particularly well.” Recent wins in the region include Biogen, Green Mountain Coffee and Dish Network.

Bollore told analysts on a Friday conference to discuss results that Havas “has never had so many important clients in the U.S.,” as it does currently. He attributed the progress to management changes at the agencies, notably Andrew Bennett who was named global CEO Havas Worldwide in January.

Right now, he said, “our biggest challenge in the U.S. is managing growth,” which in large part will be accomplished by making sure the right talent is in place.

Bollore said that he believes the company’s strategy of creating “villages” in geographic locations is paying off, although “it’s hard to quantify.” In New York, for example, all of the holding company’s operations moved to single location at the end of last year. Similar moves are being planned worldwide including a London consolidation of 1,500 staffers that has been put in motion for 2016.

The idea is to foster collaboration, said Bollore -- which in turn, he believes, will optimize strategies and results for prospects and existing clients. “We need to be working together,” he said. 

This story has been updated to include information from a Havas conference call with analysts to discuss the company's first half results.

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