French ad agency group Publicis has reported a ‘very strong’ start to the year in its first quarter results, with organic growth coming in at 10.5% on revenue of €2.8 billion.
The strong results for the firm, which owns Leo Burnett, Saatchi & Saatchi and BBH among many other agency names, come despite the seesawing uncertainty around the global pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and steep rates of inflation in a number of countries in which it operates.
Publicis Sapient, the firm’s US digital transformation consultancy business, reported very strong organic growth at 18.5% for the quarter.
Europe was the strongest regional area for Publicis, coming in at 14.9% organic growth, with France and the UK leading the charge.
The company also reported a strong list of new business wins, which in Europe included top brands such as Primark, ABRDN, Heineken, LVMH, Avon, BNP Paribas and Barclaycard.
Arthur Sadoun, Chairman and CEO of Publicis Groupe, said: “We started the year very strongly, both financially and commercially. Our organic growth for the quarter came well above expectations at +10.5%, versus +2.8% for the same period last year.
“Our model is going from strength to strength, as it continues to capture rising client demand for first-party data, digital media and commerce.
“This is particularly true in business transformation, where Publicis Sapient saw strong acceleration this quarter and grew +18% globally.
“All of our regions performed well. The organic growth of the U.S. at +8% confirms the country’s continued dynamic with a good performance of Epsilon at its core.
“We are confident in our ability to deliver on all of the objectives we set for the year and actually come in at the upper end of our organic growth target, despite the uncertainty caused by the global health situation, the evolution of the conflict in Ukraine, and the consequences of inflation for our clients.”
Despite the strong performance, Publicis said there was too much uncertainty ahead to upgrade its outlook for the year: “In the first quarter 2022, Publicis recorded a stronger-than-expected start to the year, both financially and commercially”.
“While this should have led the Groupe to upgrade its expectations for 2022 organic growth, the global health situation, the evolution of the conflict in Ukraine, and the consequences of inflation for the clients, create too much uncertainty to do so at this stage
Publicis shares were trading 2.5% lower in Paris today at €53.24.