Publicis Groupe grows 5.5% in UK but overall revenue falls

Publicis Groupe delivered a standout performance in the UK with 5.5% organic growth last year, while overall revenues fell 0.4% to €9.69bn (£6.98bn).

Publicis CEO Sadoun: results proved group's 'strength and ability to adapt'
Publicis CEO Sadoun: results proved group's 'strength and ability to adapt'

Currency fluctuations hit much of Publicis's growth potential, but as well as reporting strong UK growth, the ad business fared well in Italy (up 4%) and its French homeland (1.1%). Germany, however, suffered a 6.9% drop, which the group attributed to a "difficult advertising market".

2017 saw net income hit €862m and the company reported an operating margin of €1.67bn, while it said that organically, it grew the business by 0.8%.

However, European revenue was down 0.1% to €2.76bn and the biggest fall hit Publicis' Asia Pacific business, where it suffered a 2.3% decline to €1.06bn.

Its strongest growth was in Latin America, where 2017 revenues were up 6.6% to €389m, while Middle East and Africa bolstered revenues by 3.1%.

Analysts at Liberum said that Publicis's Q4 organic growth was broadly in line with expectations", while it noted the "acceleration of growth in North America in Q4".

For the fourth quarter of 2017, revenues again fell (by 3.1%), to €2.58m, a figure that marked an organic increase of 2.2% and growth at constant exchange rates of 2.7%.

Performance across the Atlantic was strong during the quarter. Year-on-year revenues were down 4% but up 4.4% organically, following a 3.5% organic growth in Q3, largely driven by account wins.

The company named-checked a number of client wins in its results, including Procter & Gamble UK, Lionsgate, Southwest Airlines, L'Oréal, McDonald's and Carrefour. The group also singled out its most senior new appointee — group chief creative officer Nick Law.

Arthur Sadoun, Publicis Groupe's chairman and chief executive, said: "Despite a generally difficult context and the group being in the midst of its own transformation, the quality of our results demonstrates Publicis Groupe’s strength and our ability to adapt to the deep changes affecting our industry. The group is stronger than it was a year ago."