Publicis global revenue up 3% in 2012, grows 4% in Q4

PARIS: Publicis Groupe reported $2.5 billion in revenue in the fourth quarter of last year, representing an organic increase of 3.9% compared with Q4 2011.

PARIS: Publicis Groupe reported $2.5 billion in revenue in the fourth quarter of last year, representing an organic increase of 3.9% compared with Q4 2011.

The holding company's total PR revenue in the fourth quarter grew 4.5% organically, according to a high-ranking source at the company. PR activity in Asia grew about 30% organically, while Europe was relatively flat and the US saw small growth, the source added. 

Net income increased 23% year-over-year to $989 million in 2012, and the group added $3.5 billion in new business during the year.

The holding company's PR agencies include SchwartzMSL, Kekst & Company, Publicis Consultants, and PBJS, which all operate under the MSLGroup umbrella.

Publicis cited new business wins for MSL from Walmart in Hong Kong, as well as Haier, Abbott Laboratories, the March of Dimes, First Book, and Apple Tree Pharmaceuticals in the US. 

In North America, Publicis saw organic growth of 3.7%, year-over-year, to $1.1 billion in Q4 2012.

The highest regional organic growth rate in the quarter was from the combined region including the BRIC countries and MISSAT, which consists of Mexico, Indonesia, Singapore, South Africa, and Turkey. In Europe, the group saw organic growth of 0.8% in Q4.

Publicis earned 19% of its revenue in 2012 from its SAMS unit, which includes PR agencies such as MSLGroup, the VivaKi digital unit, and healthcare firms.

For the full year, Publicis reported a global organic revenue increase of 2.9% to about $8.8 billion, attributing the growth to digital, the US, and developing markets.

The holding company also reported that North American revenue grew 3.1% organically in the year, compared with 2011, while Europe saw an organic drop in revenue of 0.3% for 2012.

“2012 was to be the year of recovery, but turned out to be difficult, uncertain, and disappointing as regards growth and employment, especially in Europe,” Publicis chairman and CEO Maurice Levy said in an earnings statement. “While 2012 was a more difficult year than expected, 2013 looks like it will be even more difficult, between economic uncertainty, [and] the weakness of Europe, where whole sectors of industry both lack competitiveness and face consumers' concerns.” 

Earlier this week, Omnicom Group reported that its PR agencies, which include Fleishman-Hillard, Ketchum, and Porter Novelli, saw an organic revenue increase of 8.4% to $347.9 million in the final quarter of last year, compared with Q4 2011.

For the full year, the holding company's PR firms reported 3.3% organic revenue growth to $1.3 billion. 

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