Havas boosted by strong North America performance

Havas, fifth in the marcoms holding company stakes, produced a strong profit surge in the first half of 2010 on the back of a rebound in North America where it has been been engaged in some heavy restructuring.

The French-owned company, whose biggest brand is Euro RSCG, saw profits rise from €40m to €49m on a 4.2 per cent increase in sales to €729m. The makes it almost exactly the same size as long term target media buyer Aegis in which it owns 29.9 per cent.

Havas follows WPP and Publicis in posting strong figures. They too have benefited from an unexpectedly sharp rebound in the US and Canada where advertising seems to be recovering much faster than the economy as a whole, which is puzzling for gloomsters among economists and analysts there.

The strong Havas figures will rekindle speculation that Havas boss Vincent Bollore will come back for Aegis although that company’s debts following the acquisition of Australia’s Mitchell Communication Group could be a problem.

Bollore might be reckoning on selling Aegis’ expensively-acquired, and barely profitable, research business Synovate to ease a deal through.

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