Since mid-2022 economists and bankers have been predicting a recession for 2023 but so far it hasn’t hit Adland, if holding company financial results are any indication.
Publicis Groupe reported 7.1% organic growth in the first quarter, the second holding company this week (after Omnicom) to report growth that exceeded expectations.
Publicis Groupe’s Q1 growth followed 10.5% growth achieved in the first quarter of last year.
But citing macroeconomic uncertainty, the company is managing growth expectations for the full year with guidance of between 3% to 5% albeit with confidence it will hit the top half of the range. Q2 is expected to be in that range as well.
Operating profit margin will be in the 17.5% to 18% range per company guidance with an estimated $1.7 billion of free cash flow for the full year.
Publicis Groupe CEO Arthur Sadoun said the results signal a “strong start to 2023,” which he credited to the company’s differentiated revenue mix, “our go to market offering and our platform organization, allowing us to invest in growth while delivering industry high margins.”
By region, the U.S. posted 5.8% organic growth (which excludes M&A and currency impact), Europe, 12.3%, while China grew 3% despite strict shutdowns across the country to deal with COVID. Latin America was up 8% and the Middle East & Africa grew 16.6%. APAC lagged behind with less than 1% growth.
Digital transformation unit Publicis Sapient and data operation Epsilon both posted double-digit organic gains (11% and 10% respectively).
Reported net revenue for Q1 was up 10% to 3.079 euros (about $3.374 billion).
Major wins in the period included Walgreens (media), Dunkin’ (creative) and Burger King (creative.)