Publicis Groupe sets the bar for rivals with nine per cent quarterly growth

Who’s the best performer among the big four marcoms groups (or four and a half if you include Havas)?

Well Publicis is making a strong bid for gold, reporting ‘organic’ quarterly growth of nine per cent which it says should average out at six per cent for the whole of 2010. Its rivals WPP (the biggest), Omnicom and Interpublic will struggle to match that although the smaller Havas just might.

In the third quarter of 2010 Publicis revenues increased to $1.32bn from $1.05bn last year suggesting that the company has well and truly recovered from the recession. It also reported that its borrowings had almost halved, which is slightly surprising as it’s been shopping in Brazil recently, snapping up digital agency AG2 and Talent, paying $110m for 49 per cent of the latter.

It reports new business so far in 2010 of $4.8bn headed by the likes of Glaxo Smith Kline and Gucci. It’s also lost business of course, most notably Chevrolet to Crispin Porter + Bogusky. Boss Maurice Levy also said that he expects 60 per cent of the company’s revenues to come from digital and emerging markets in three years’ time, interesting in itself but also surely a swipe at WPP’s Sir Martin Sorrell who presents himself as a pioneer in both areas.

Levy’s company has a long way to go before it catches WPP, which has still to update us on its third quarter, but it definitely seems to be making the running among the big four.

No wonder le chevalier Maurice has postponed his retirement.

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