Havas back in profit

16th September 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Sept 16 (AFP) - The French advertising group Havas said Thursday it returned to profit in the first half of the year and plans to undertake a capital increase of EUR 400 million (USD 486 million).

PARIS, Sept 16 (AFP) - The French advertising group Havas said Thursday it returned to profit in the first half of the year and plans to undertake a capital increase of EUR 400 million (USD 486 million).  

The company said that from January to June it turned a net profit of EUR 14 million after a loss of EUR 58 million in the same period last year.  

Operating profit jumped 34 percent to EUR 91 million from EUR 68 million in first half 2003.  

"Cost cuts, the sale of non-strategic or under performing companies and a 10-point tax cut are behind the result," Havas said.  

But Havas' debt widened to EUR 800 million as of June 30 from EUR 715 million on the same date in 2003.  

Sales dropped 10 percent in the first half to EUR 750 million from the first six months of 2003. Excluding companies that were sold or are about to be, sales grew 1.1 percent, according to Havas.  

Havas chief executive Alain De Pouzilhac said the company was not threatened with becoming a takeover target for rival advertising firms in the wake of its recent failure to acquire Grey Global of the United States.  

Havas lost the bidding battle for Grey to WPP of Britain.  

"After Grey, I don't feel any more like prey than before," Pouzilhac said during a press conference.  

"We are a company listed on the stock market, and there is the law of markets."  

He added that Havas directors had approved in principal a EUR 400 million capital increase that will complement the turnaround achieved in the first half.  

Havas shares were down 1.88 percent at EUR 4.17 in mid-day trade here, with investors concerned about a dilution in earnings per share following the capital increase.

© AFP

 

Subject: French News

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