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Havas reports record organic growth of 8% in first half

LONDON - Havas has reported record organic growth of 8% in its results for the first half of 2008, thanks to a strong performance in southern Europe and North America.

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Havas's revenue has risen to €755m, a 3.6% increase over the first half of 2007 at current exchange rates.

However, Havas said that the increasingly strong euro had a negative impact on the group, which would have achieved 10.6% growth at constant exchange rates in the first half of 2008.

Second quarter organic growth reached 8.4%, after 7.4% in quarter one, resulting in first half organic growth of 8%.

Havas said that all of the group's businesses improved sharply, in particular digital, corporate communications, media expertise and design, which all posted double-digit growth.

In terms of its networks, Havas Media continued to generate sustained organic growth in all countries, especially in the digital sector.

Euro RSCG progressed significantly, which Havas attributes the new business-model it launched last year, putting digital communications at the heart of its creative agencies.

Europe performed in line with the group as a whole, but certain countries posted growth in excess of 10%, particularly in southern European countries such as Portugal, Italy and Spain, where Havas Media Spain put in an "outstanding performance".

Eastern Europe and Germany -- where growth is particularly driven by Havas Media Germany -- also achieved strong growth.

Havas said that Great Britain's growth accelerated sharply in the second quarter despite the depressed market, thanks to a good performance from Euro RSCG London, Euro RSCG KLP, Euro RSCG Biss Lancaster, the Maitland Consultancy, and MPG UK.

North America also put in a strong performance with Euro RSCG posting double-digit growth, primarily because of the New York and Chicago creative agencies, which adopted the revamped business model.

Net new business for the first half was €1.1m. The main accounts that Euro RSCG Worldwide won included Pernod Ricard, Jaguar and La Poste. Havas Media won accounts for EDF, Volvo and Hitachi, among others.

Fernando Rodes Vila, chief executive of the Havas Group, said: "After record organic growth of 7.1% in 2007, Havas has sustained that trend in the first half of 2008. We are now preparing for a more fragile economic environment but our performance, which exceeded our expectations, leaves us comfortable about our ability to react."

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