Publicis Groupe Q1 Revenue Down 3.6%

French advertising company Publicis Groupe (PGPEF.PK,PUBGY.PK) reported that its net revenue for the first-quarter was 2.39 billion euros, down by 3.6% from 2.48 billion euros in 2020. Exchange rates had a negative impact of 151 million euros. Acquisitions, net of disposals, accounted for a decrease in net revenue of 3 million euros.

Organic revenue growth was 2.8%, supported by the performance in the U.S.

North America net revenue was up by 4.7% on an organic basis in the first-quarter 2021, down by 3.2% reported basis due to the US dollar exchange rate.

Net revenue in Europe was down by 2.9% on a reported basis. It was down by 1.8% on an organic basis, but it is worth mentioning that excluding the French outdoor media activities and the Drugstore, Europe was up by 2.8% on an organic basis.

Net revenue in Asia Pacific was down by 0.9% on a reported basis, but returned to positive on an organic basis at +5.7%. China, which was the first country impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, posted an organic growth of +3.0%. India and Australia both recorded dynamic organic growth in the first-quarter.

Middle East & Africa declined by 17.3% in net revenue, or 11.0% on an organic basis, remaining impacted by the sanitary situation and impacted by a particularly high comparison base for Publicis Sapient.

Net revenue in Latin America was down by 13.0% on a reported basis due to currency impact, it was up by 7.7% on an organic basis. Brazil was broadly flat, while Mexico, Argentina and Columbia saw an increase in organic growth.

The company said it remains cautious in what is a still very challenging environment.

Looking ahead for the second-quarter, the Groupe expects to recover between 60% to 80% of what it lost in the second-quarter of 2020, implying an organic revenue growth between 8% and 10%, assuming no further deterioration in sanitary conditions.

The Groupe confirms that its operating margin rate will improve by up to 50 basis points in 2021.

The Groupe also confirms that its free cash flow before change in working capital should be around 1.2 billion euros in 2021.

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