Publicis Groupe pre-tax profits decline 5.5% after 'patchy year'

Maurice Lévy: chief executive and chairman, Publicis Groupe
Maurice Lévy: chief executive and chairman, Publicis Groupe

Publicis Groupe has reported pre-tax income of €1.04 billion, down 5.5 per cent after what its chief executive and chairman, Maurice Lévy, has described as a "patchy year".

According to Publicis Groupe’s 2014 full year results, the owner of Saatchi & Saatchi and Starcom MediaVest Group reported revenue of €7.26 billion across the 12 months, up 4.3 per cent year on year.

Publicis Groupe said its UK position improved in the second half of the year but that the UK still recorded an organic revenue decline of 3.6 per cent, "mainly as a result of Razorfish UK".

The Publicis Groupe network Razorfish suffered following the loss of the Motorolla and Blackberry accounts.

Across Europe, Publicis Groupe reported revenue of €2.15 billion in 2014, up 4.6 per cent on a reported basis but organic growth of just 0.6 per cent.

In the fourth quarter of 2014 Publicis Groupe reported revenue of €2.15 billion, up 11.5 per cent year on year. Global organic growth was 3.2 per cent year on year in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Publicis Groupe’s European businesses reported revenue of €650 million, up 4.7 per cent year on year or 1 per cent on an organic basis. However, the group’s UK revenue declined by 7.4 per cent year on year on an organic basis.

Lévy said: "Publicis Groupe had a patchy year. I’m putting this in transparent terms, I think it is the only way to go.

"The first part of the year was a year when we were not particularly good. In fact, we were not good at all. Our growth was not reflective of our capabilities not reflective of our expectations."

Lévy attributed some of the underperformance to being "over stretched" due to the aborted merger with Omnicom as well as "other projects that did not come to fruition".  

Publicis Groupe’s performance in the last three months of 2014 was "better than we expected", Lévy said. "Growth was solid, nothing miraculous but solid," he added.

More than 50 per cent of revenues will come from digital in 2015

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