Cautious Havas slows decline in last quarter of 2020

Havas, now owned by Vivendi, has reported Q4 2020 and full year figures, coming in towards the bottom of the ad holding companies with full year net revenues down 9.2% at $2.46 billion, compared to pre-pandemic 2019. Full year organic revenue fell 9.9%. Q4 revenue was down around 9% with an organic decline of 7.5%, an improvement on Q3’s 10.4%.

Havas agencies also include BETC (left.)

By region the US performed best with Europe patchy and Asia Pacific down. No forecast for 2021 (Havas no longer has to cheer up external shareholders) with the company just saying it is positioned “to make the most of any new growth opportunities its markets may present.”

Which may mean “we don’t have a clue” but that might be the most realistic answer for most of the ad holding groups.

So far, apart from MDC Partners, they’ve all avoided the dreaded double digit drop in organic revenue (it’s hard to be sure about Dentsu, which reports differently) even if, as with Havas and Omnicom, it’s by a whisker.

WPP reports next week. An organic revenue decline nearer to five or six per cent (as with Interpublic and Publicis) would be seen as a near triumph for CEO Mark Read.

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About Stephen Foster

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Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.