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Havas' First Half Profit Dips 13%

  • Reuters, Monday, August 31, 2009 10:11 PM
Havas posted a 13.1% drop in first-half core profit as clients cut spending amid a global economic downturn. Underlying sales fell 9.2% in the first six months, hit by continued weakness in Britain, Southern Europe and North America.

In June, chairman Vincent Bollore predicted 2009 sales would not fall more than 10% and the company would limit the impact on earnings through cost controls. Havas, whose clients range from France Telecom to Coca-Cola, achieved net new business of $1.16 billion and cut net debt by 47%.

Last week, media buying agency Aegis, also majority-owned by Bollore, posted a 10.8% fall in first-half like-for-like sales. Bollore is the largest shareholder of Havas, with a 32.9% stake. He is also the largest shareholder of Aegis with 29.9%. The situation has fueled speculation Bollore could seek to merge the two groups to help them better compete with larger rivals, such as Publicis or WPP.



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