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Publicis Groupe reports 31.7% revenue growth for first quarter as Sapient drives digital growth

Publicis Groupe has announced a 31.7 per cent increase in revenue during its first quarter of 2015 to reach €2,103m, growth the company has placed down to positive exchange rates and the inclusion of Sapient.

The impact of half of the group’s revenue being in Sterling and Dollars has helped it offset the weakening of the Euro, while the completion of the acquisition of Sapient Group during the first quarter was another event highlighted within the results, as was 0.9 per cent organic growth.

Revenue through digital activities also increased by 4.7 per cent which meant that it now accounted for just over half (50.2 per cent) of total revenue.

By region, Europe - excluding Turkey and Russia - grew to €575m, a reported growth rate of 21.3 per cent, while North American revenue growth was 44.9 per cent - €1,152m. Brazil, Russia, India, China reached €215m (-2.6 per cent) and the rest of the world grew by 16.7 per cent to €161m.

Maurice Lévy, Chairman and CEO of Publicis Groupe described the acquisition of Sapient as “one of the important milestones” in the transformation of the business while he also admitted that organic growth was expected to see a negative return during the first quarter, but in fact was ahead by 1 per cent.

“This isn’t yet the growth rate we expect to see out of Publicis Groupe, but is nonetheless an encouraging return to growth. The main event of this early part of the year has been the completion of the Sapient acquisition, an event that gives Publicis Groupe a new strategic dimension while excelling the Groupe’s transformation. The integration process is already underway and the prevailing spirit is excellent. Today’s sudden, radical changes in lifestyle and consumption in an unprecedentedly digital world leave all economic players facing a new set of challenges. The blurring of boundaries can be found everywhere – in longstanding industry sectors and even in the shift to omni-channel – both have brought the advent of new competitors forcing companies to transform themselves at the risk of “uberisation”. They have to rethink their processes, their practice, their marketing, their customer relations and, more fundamentally, their business model,” Levy continued.

“In this new environment, I think it would be fair to say that our Groupe is ahead of the curve. With the acquisition of Sapient, Publicis Groupe has become the only global group present all along the value chain - from consulting to marketing, from communications to commerce – brought to life through an outstanding expertise in the most high-performing technologies. We are working on commercial propositions that should enable us to achieve all our medium-term goals. For now, we are gradually implementing our growth program. The second quarter will be better than the first, albeit with modest growth, as announced, that of the Groupe should be considerably stronger in the second half of the year.”

Other highlights from the quarter included the launch of a new media division within ZenithOptimedia called Blue 449, headquartered in London and new business wins with brands such as TomTom (Starcom Mediavest), Tencent (Publicis), Tesco (BBH) and Benecol - Pan European (Saatchi & Saatchi) to name a few.

Maurice Levy is to guest edit The Drum magazine in June which will be sent to the Cannes Festival of Creativity.

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