Publicis Groupe survives pandemic as its organic revenue declines 13%

Publicis Groupe has released its financial results for the three months to June, revealing that its organic revenue declined by 13% year-on-year in the second quarter of 2020. The report comes at a time when the Covid-19 lockdowns across the world are having negative impact on media and marketing budgets.

According to the French holding giant, its organic revenue dropped to €2.29bn.

In North America, these fell by 7.6%. In APAC, by 5.7%. Latin America and the Middle East and Africa saw drops of 20.2% and 23.5% respectively.

In Europe, however, the company posted a 23.5% fall in like-for-like revenues, countries such as France, Spain and Italy having imposed strict national lockdowns.

Worldwide, net revenue for the group grew 2.6% in Q2 to €2.3m, and in Europe declined 23.1% to €510m.

Commenting on the report, Arthur Sadoun, chairman and chief exec of Publicis Groupe, said the results demonstrate that Publicis has strong fundamentals to weather the crisis.

“With our transformation almost complete, tailwind in the US and continued new business momentum, we were off to a good 2020,” he said in a statement.

He added: “As Publicis Groupe heads into the latter half of the year, we are focused on limiting the impact of the downturn, accelerating our new offering for our clients, while continuing to adapt our cost structure.”

Along with WPP and Omnicom, Publicis has already implemented a cost-cutting drive that squeezed out nearly €286m in savings from a recruitment freeze, elimination of freelance work and other cuts to general expenses

On cost-cutting, Sadoun said: “We have a very simple strategy when it comes to reducing our costs. We’ve taken only one single measure at group level – and that’s don’t go outside, whether it’s for hiring, freelancing or third-party companies. All the other measures are being taken at a country level. There’s no one-size fits all.

“Some agencies are still doing great. Some have been particularly impacted. Some are in countries that will recover fast, other in countries where rules haven’t been relaxed. My conviction in this crisis is that you have to trust that your team will do the right thing.”

A recent study from the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) detailed how large global brands planned to cut spend through to the end of 2020.


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