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Havas may cut forecasts as revenues fall

PARIS - French advertising group Havas, which owns the Euro RSCG Worldwide agency, is expected to report that revenues have declined by 4% during the first half of the year when it reveals its interim results tomorrow.

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Analysts are expecting Havas to revise its forecasts for the year on the back of its interims. The group, which also owns Arnold Worldwide and Media Planning Group, had said that it aims to increase its operating margin by 1% on its 2001 figure, and to have revenue growth of 2%.

However, analysts have said that it is unlikely that it would hit these targets, which were based on the assumption that advertising would be fairly stable.

Predictions of an advertising recovery now range from anywhere between 2003 and 2004. Hopes of a noticeable recovery in 2002 have largely faded.

In addition, analysts are saying they will closely monitor Havas's performance in terms of new business wins. The company has recently picked up work include Allied Domecq's champagne brands, Mumm and Perrier Jouet, but has seen its WorldCom work finish as the company was rocked by an Enron-like accounting scandal.

Havas, headed by chairman and CEO Alain de Pouzilhac, is due to release its first-half results tomorrow morning. This afternoon, its Paris-listed shares were trading at €5.12, up 4.7%.

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