French advertising concern
reported a symbolic turnaround Tuesday, but revenue was lower.
The news comes as the sixth-largest ad holding company gears up for a company meeting on June 9, when it will contend with a restive shareholder.
Havas, whose assets include Euro RSCG Worldwide, Arnold Advertising and Media Planning Group, saw so-called organic growth, excluding acquisitions and other external factors, rise 1.4% -- double that of the same period year before. But the company saw revenue dip 7.6% from a year ago to $424 million, due to the impact of a weak dollar and some restructuring costs.
Commenting on the results, Havas Chairman Alain de Pouzilhac says, "The first quarter has reinforced our confidence in achieving our objectives for 2005. The additional new business gains at the start of the second quarter, including, among others, the
account won by Arnold, suggest that our organic growth should be higher in 2005 than it was in 2004."
Along with the $250 million RadioShack account, network agency Euro RSCG Worldwide won the Jaguar account valued at $100 million. Both wins are significant, given loses of
and Volkswagen, two big clients, last year.
More importantly, perhaps, the holding company's agencies are showing some new business wins. De Pouzilhac and other management are preparing to cross swords with French corporate raider Vincent Bollore, who has bought 20% of Havas shares and has sought a greater presence on the company's board.
Bollore requested four seats on Havas' board earlier this year, but Havas rejected that request in April. Bollore has yet to make his intentions clear.
Shares in Havas closed at $6.31 on Monday.