Havas profit up sharply, declines to make forecast

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French advertising firm Havas said Tuesday its first half earnings rose sharply, in line with forecasts, but it gave no estimates for its second half performance.

The company said its six months to June net profit rose 22.5 percent from a year earlier to 49 million euros (62 million dollars) on sales of 729 million euros, up 4.1 percent.

Analyst forecasts compiled by Dow Jones Newswires were for a net profit of 47.9 million euros on sales of 724.4 million euros.

First-half 2009 was especially difficult for the advertising industry as the global economic slump slashed demand and the results announced Tuesday were very similar to those reported for first-half 2008.

Rival Publicis, ranked number one in France ahead of Havas, reported earlier that its first half sales were up 5.3 percent.

Havas said the results were driven by a strong North American performance but declined to make a second half forecast given recent uncertainties over the economic outlook.

© 2010 AFP

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