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Havas reports small revenue rise on strong organic growth

LONDON - Havas has recorded a small rise in first-half revenues, up 1.3% to €729m (£490.5m) although it put in a strong performance in terms of organic growth, with a good showing from the UK.

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The group, which described its first quarter results as "satisfactory", said that net new business for the first half was €1.2bn, an increase of 38%, with second-quarter new business up 44% to €697m.

Havas, which is headed by chairman Vincent Bollore, reported organic growth of 5.4% for the second quarter, up from 3.2% in the first quarter. The French group, which owns MPG and Euro RSCG Worldwide, said the results marked the first time in six years that the group had recorded organic growth in excess of 5%.

It said the strong performance in terms of organic growth in the second quarter was attributable to a number of high-profile account wins last year beginning to take effect, including Barclays, Exxon Mobil and Reckitt Benckiser.

By region, the UK was among the more stable performers, posting a 3.4% second-quarter rise in organic growth after Euro RSCG come back strongly to make a significant contribution as did its press relations, financial communication and marketing services.

In the group's native France, Havas said Euro RSCG had helped it maintain a "high rate of organic growth in the second quarter", having returned a 2.4% rise.

The rest of Europe, excluding France and the UK, returned 9.1% second-quarter revenue growth, with Havas noting strong performances in media in Spain, Italy and Germany, and double-digit growth in Ireland, Belgium and Denmark.

In the Asia Pacific region, the first-half Dell account win was viewed as responsible for creating a 10.6% rise in second-quarter revenue for the period.

Elsewhere, North America recorded a 4% second-quarter rise, which the group said was attributable to the "landmark event" of winning the media consulting business for retail giant Sears, and solid performance in its healthcare and corporate communications business.

Havas' results contrast with those of Publicis Groupe, which yesterday recorded an organic growth rate of 0.2% for the second quarter, and a 6% revenue growth rise to €2.2bn. The agency said it would not hit its organic growth targets for the year.

In a statement, Havas said: "The level of first half 2007 revenue shows that Havas is on the road to recovery."

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