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Havas, the French marketing services group, reports 9% rise in 2011 profits

Growth in digital and social media and emerging markets boosted profit to €220m at Vincent Bolloré’s group

Vincent Bolloré’s French marketing services group Havas has reported a 9% year-on-year increase in profits to €220m (£184m) for 2011, as revenue grew 5.4% to €1.65bn.

Havas, which owns ad agency networks including Euro RSCG and MPG, said that the financial performance was driven by growth in digital and social media and emerging markets such as Latin America and Asia Pacific.

The company, which increased its dividend by 10% to 11 cents per share, said that 23% of total revenues now comes from digital and social media activity for clients.

A geographical breakdown shows that Europe increased revenues by 3.6% year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2011, a welcome boost following two quarters of poor growth. This helped full-year revenues climb 2.1% year-on-year to €864m. Europe accounts for 52% of Havas’s global revenues.

Within Europe, Havas’s home market France recovered from two quarters of declining revenues to report a 1.4% year-on-year increase in the final three months of the year. This helped full-year revenues grow 1% to €340m.

The UK’s full year revenues increased by 2.4% year-on-year – and 5.8% in the final quarter – to €180m.

North America grew an impressive 6.8% year-on-year in 2011 to €520m.

In the “rest of the world”, which accounts for just 16% of total Havas revenues, Latin America was boosted by an impressive 21.4% year-on-year in 2011 to €158m.

“It was another strong year for Havas driven by aggressive growth in digital, double-digit results in emerging markets and the growth from our major global accounts,” said David Jones, chief executive of Havas. “At the same time, we were successful in reducing costs in 2011 and generated an increase in margins as a result. Our new business performance and pipeline remain solid as we move into 2012.”

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