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Publicis reveals Q3 results: 5% organic growth compared with 2019

Publicis Groupe saw financial performance ‘ahead of expectations’ this quarter

Publicis Groupe has revealed its financial performance for the third quarter of 2021. The French holding company performed ”ahead of expectations” and saw particularly strong growth from its data and digital transformation businesses.

Arthur Sadoun, chairman and chief executive officer of Publicis Groupe, said: ”Overall, 18 months after the beginning of the pandemic, we are emerging as a stronger group.”

What do the results show?

  • Publicis recorded €2.62bn in revenue in the third quarter – an 11.9% increase on the same period last year. Exchange rate variations in the quarter have been to Publicis’s benefit, to the tune of €4m.

  • Organic growth in Q3 was 11.2% higher than in the same period in 2020. The company is eager to compare this figure to the pre-pandemic figures of 2019, and across that two-year period, it says this represents organic growth of 5%.

  • Publicis’s operating margin now sits at 17%, an upgrade on previous estimations.

  • The holding company’s net revenue for the year-to-date currently sits at €7.5bn, against €7.1bn for the same stretch of 2020. Organic growth in the first nine months of 2021 has been 10.2%.

  • Major account wins in the quarter include Ferrero, Planet Etihad, Fiat Chrysler, Puma, Hyatt and Walmart.

  • Publicis has upgraded its guidance indicators for the second time in 2021, and now expects annual organic growth of 8.5-9%. It also expects its working capital to top €1.3bn.

Which regions and areas of the business performed best?

  • North America and Publicis’s home market in Europe were its best performers, posting €1.6bn and €0.6bn in net revenue respectively, with organic growth over 10% in both regions.

  • However, the Middle East & Africa region posted strong growth from small bases – MEA saw 22.7% organic growth this quarter (9% compared to 2019).

  • Sadoun highlighted the group’s performance in data managment and digital transformation. Epsillon and Publicis Sapient saw growth of 13% and 20% respectively; its health businesses delivered double-digit growth.

  • He said: ”The strength of our model not only means we have fully recovered from the impact of the pandemic, but it has also allowed us in Q3 to grow 5% versus 2019.

  • ”We have a product and service offering that uniquely positions us to respond to our clients’ needs and help them address and lead the major revolutions in the industry, from the disappearance of third-party cookies, the acceleration of advanced TV and retail media, and the ongoing rise of direct-to-consumer channels.”

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