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Publicis Groupe: Q1 2015 Revenue

PARIS, April 21, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --

Q1 2015 € 2,103 million % Change:
+31.7%
Q1 2014 € 1,597 million
Organic growth: +0.9%

Maurice Lévy, Chairman and CEO of Publicis Groupe:

"Our revenue is up to slightly over 30%, partly due to the positive impact of exchange rates, and partly to the inclusion of Sapient since completing the acquisition. As we'll continue to see, this is one of the important milestones of the Groupe's transformation.

We expected organic growth to be slightly down this quarter, but, on the contrary, it is up almost 1%. This isn't yet the growth rate we expect to see out of Publicis Groupe, but is nonetheless an encouraging return to growth.

The main event of this early part of the year has been the completion of the Sapient acquisition, an event that gives Publicis Groupe a new strategic dimension while excelling the Groupe's transformation. The integration process is already underway and the prevailing spirit is excellent.

Today's sudden, radical changes in lifestyle and consumption in an unprecedentedly digital world leave all economic players facing a new set of challenges. The blurring of boundaries can be found everywhere - in longstanding industry sectors and even in the shift to omni-channel - both have brought the advent of new competitors forcing companies to transform themselves at the risk of "uberisation". They have to rethink their processes, their practice, their marketing, their customer relations and, more fundamentally, their business model.

In this new environment, I think it would be fair to say that our Groupe is ahead of the curve. With the acquisition of Sapient, Publicis Groupe has become the only global group present all along the value chain - from consulting to marketing, from communications to commerce - brought to life through an outstanding expertise in the most high-performing technologies. We are working on commercial propositions that should enable us to achieve all our medium-term goals.

For now, we are gradually implementing our growth program. The second quarter will be better than the first, albeit with modest growth, as announced, that of the Groupe should be considerably stronger in the second half of the year."

I - Revenue

Publicis Groupe's consolidated revenue for the first quarter of 2015 was 2,103 million euro, a 31.7% increase on 1,597 million euro for the corresponding period in 2014.

Exchange rates had a 215 million euro positive impact on revenue, i.e. 13.5% of revenue in Q1 2014, as a result of over 50% of the Groupe's revenue being in dollars and sterling, and due to the weakening of the euro against these two currencies by 21.7% and 11.4% respectively. Expressed in dollars, the Groupe's revenue in Q1 was 2,366 million dollars (+8.2%). When exchange rates are factored out, revenue growth stands at 16.1%.

Acquisitions contributed 274 million euro or 17.2% of revenue. The completion of the Sapient acquisition is one of the highlights of the first quarter. This transaction is an important milestone in the transformation of Publicis Groupe, making it the undisputed leader of the digital era. Publicis Groupe can now establish itself more rapidly as the leader in corporate digital transformation, at the crossroads of marketing, communications, omni-channel commerce and technology.

Organic growth was +0.9%. Though global economic growth has seen contrasting trends since the start of the year, Publicis Groupe has achieved growth notably as a result of its strong presence in digital which has become its main activity. Digital activities progressed by +4.7% and now account for 50.2% of total revenue. Healthcare also performed well.

1. Revenue by region

Though Europe has benefitted from a combination of positive factors (the strengthening of the dollar, the fall in oil prices, the ECB's monetary policy), the growth outlook remains limited by persistent unemployment. The US economy is still the world's bastion of high growth and continued low interest rates should go on shoring up growth throughout 2015. In the emerging markets, the economic environment remained fragile in the first quarter, particularly in Russia and Brazil due to the sharp increases in interest rates to contain the weakening of the ruble and real.

Q1 2015 revenue by region

EUR million Revenue Organic Reported
Q1 2015 Q1 2014 growth growth
Europe (1) 575 474 +1.7% +21.3%
North America 1,152 795 +0.8% +44.9%
BRIC+MISSAT (2) 215 190 -2.6% +13.2%
Rest of the world 161 138 +4.0% +16.7%
Total 2,103 1,597 +0.9% +31.7%

(1) Europe excluding Russia and Turkey (2) BRIC: Brazil, Russia, India, China
MISSAT: Mexico, Indonesia, Singapore, South Africa, Turkey

Europe (excluding Russia and Turkey) saw its revenue progress by 21.3%. When acquisitions and the impact of exchange rates are factored out, organic growth stands at 1.7%. France and Germany posted 4.2% and 1.8% growth respectively. Conversely, though the UK market continued to be vibrant, Publicis has been experiencing challenges in several of its businesses and recorded negative growth (-4.2%) in Q1 2015. The southern European countries returned to positive growth (+2.7%), though this growth was achieved against a weak basis of comparison (especially in Greece). Digital posted strong growth (+7.7%).

North America saw its revenue grow by 44.9%. When acquisitions and the impact of exchange rates are factored out, organic growth stands at 0.8%, a modest increase stemming from digital activities where growth was weak too (+1.3%).

The BRIC and MISSAT countries recorded negative organic growth of -2.6% (+13.2% reported growth). In difficult economic environments, revenue fell sharply in both Russia and Brazil (-10%). China dropped 1% due to a sluggish luxury goods sector. India continues on the road to recovery with growth of +5.7%. Mention should also be made of the decline in South Africa (-5.6%) following on the trend observed in 2014.

The Rest of the world recorded growth of 4%.

2. Revenue growth by activity

Publicis Groupe's growth has been driven by its strong presence in digital. The table below shows the good performance of digital activities (+4.7%), particularly in Europe and the high-growth countries, which offsets the decline in analog (-1.8%).

Europe (1) North America BRIC + MISSAT (2) Rest of
the world
Total
Digital +7.7% +1.3% +24.8% +20.5% +4.7%
Analog -1.5% +0.3% -8.4% -0.9% -1.8%
Total +1.7% +0.8% -2.6% +4.0% +0.9%

(1) Europe excluding Russia and Turkey (2) BRIC: Brazil, Russia, India, China
MISSAT: Mexico, Indonesia, Singapore, South Africa, Turkey

Digital has become the Groupe's main activity and now accounts for 50.2% of total revenue, thus confirming the raising of the objective to 60% by 2018.

II - Cost control

With a view to improving its operating margin in the medium-term, Publicis Groupe is integrating Sapient while continuing to invest in (regionalization of its Shared Services Centers, production platforms, ERP) and simplify its organization.

III - External growth, new launch, financial transactions

1. Acquisitions

- Expicient Inc., a leading global omni-channel services firm with significant expertise in inventory and order management systems (OMS).

- Epic Communications, South Africa's leading independent integrated strategic communications agency.

- Relaxnews is a press agency (member of Fédération Française des Agences de Presse and of the International Press and Telecom Council) with global expertise in consulting, production and management of content for the digital transformation of media and firms (exclusive negotiations in process).

- Monkees, the agency of reference in France for digital marketing and social media.

2. Blue 449 launch

ZenithOptimedia has launched a new global media network to drive business growth and further develop new and innovative approaches to communications. Called Blue 449, the new network has its headquarters in London at the offices of Walker Media, which has rebranded to become the founding office of ZenithOptimedia's new global agency.

Blue 449 will have 17 city hubs by the end of this year and will operate collaboratively with the other ZenithOptimedia brands: Zenith, Optimedia, Performics, and Newcast. The new network will also benefit from access to the extensive range of services within the Publicis Groupe and VivaKi, in a new framework for clients called 'Open Source'.

The launch of Blue 449 follows the acquisition of Walker Media in 2014 by Publicis Groupe.

Blue 449 will be led by Global Chairman, Sebastien Danet, and Global Managing Director, James Shoreland. Sebastien Danet is a Global Managing Partner at ZenithOptimedia and Chairman VivaKi France. James Shoreland has been promoted from EVP, Director Corporate Development, ZenithOptimedia US to the new MD position at Blue 449.

3. Finance

- Share buyback

On March 17, 2015, before trading opened on the Paris stock market, Publicis Groupe purchased 2,406,873 of its own shares in a block transaction from the Badinter family for a total consideration of 175.8 million euro, i.e. 73.03 euro per share. This transaction is part of a broader framework consisting of the share buyback program authorized by the AGM of May 28, 2014 and the 2022 Orane bond early redemption approved by the Supervisory Board at its meeting of September 15, 2014 and announced on September 16, 2014. The early redemption will be subject to approval by the shareholders at the Groupe's forthcoming AGM on May 27, 2015.

The transaction was carried out at a discount of 2% to the weighted average share price of the five previous days' trading, and at a discount of 4.5% to the closing price on March 16, 2015.

The entire transaction was funded by Publicis Groupe's available liquidities.

- Share buyback contract

Publicis Groupe has entered into a share buyback contract with an investment services provider for the purposes of the Share Buyback Program authorized by the Combined Annual General Meeting of its shareholders on May 28, 2014.

This contract was signed on March 27, 2015 and relates to a maximum of 3,935,000 shares at an average share price not exceeding the limit imposed by the combined AGM of May 28, 2014. The actual price of these shares will be calculated on the basis of the arithmetical average of the average prices weighted by the volumes traded each day during the buyback period, and shall not exceed that arithmetical average.

Under the terms of the contract, the buyback period shall extend from March 30, 2015 to July 31, 2015 at the latest.

This transaction falls within the framework of the early redemption of the 2022 Orane bonds mentioned above.

- Redemption of the 4.25% Eurobond issue

Publicis Groupe redeemed its 4.25% Eurobond at maturity in March 2015 for a total of 253 million euro. This redemption was fully funded out of Publicis Groupe's available liquidities. Given the 3.85% effective rate of interest on this bond issue, the redemption will help reduce the average cost of the Groupe's outstanding gross debt.

IV - Net debt at March 31, 2015

At March 31, 2015, net debt totaled 2,966 million euro after 29 million euro at March 31, 2014. At year-end 2014, the Groupe posted a cash-positive situation of 985 million euro.

V - Outlook

When updating its forecast on March 30, 2015, media observatory ZenithOptimedia reduced its global advertising media expenditure growth forecast to +4.4% for 2015, down from +4.9% in December 2014. This 50-basis point reduction stemmed from the crisis in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, in addition to the slowdown in China. By region, its expects the USA to continue to post sustained growth (+3.7%), with western Europe growing by a mere 3.1% while advertising expenditure in eastern and central Europe declines by 5.2%. Asia-Pacific and Latin America are expected to grow by 5.2% and 11.2% respectively.

Organic growth is expected to be higher in the second half-year. The Groupe's high exposure to digital activities will ensure its future growth and the continued improvement of its margins between now and 2018.

Forthcoming event

Annual General Meeting of shareholders on Wednesday, May 27, 2015 at 10 a.m.
at Publicis Cinémas
129 Avenue des Champs-Elysées, 75008 Paris

Disclaimer

This presentation contains forward-looking statements. The use of the words "aim(s)," "expect(s)," "feel(s)," "will," "may," "believe(s)," "anticipate(s)" and similar expressions in this presentation are intended to identify those statements as forward looking. Forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this presentation. Other than as required by applicable securities laws, Publicis Groupe undertakes no obligation to publish revised forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this presentation or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events. Publicis Groupe urges you to review and consider carefully the various disclosures it has made concerning the factors that may affect its business, including the disclosures made under the caption "Risk Factors" in the 2014 Registration Document filed with the French financial markets authority (AMF).

About Publicis Groupe

Publicis Groupe [Euronext Paris FR0000130577, CAC 40] is a global leader in marketing, communication, and business transformation. In a world marked by increased convergence and consumer empowerment, Publicis Groupe offers a full range of services and skills: digital, technology & consulting with Publicis.Sapient (SapientNitro, Sapient Global Markets, Sapient Government Services, Razorfish Global, DigitasLBi, Rosetta) - the world's largest most forward-thinking digitally centered platform focused exclusively on digital transformation in an always-on world - as well as creative networks such as BBH, Leo Burnett, Publicis Worldwide, Saatchi & Saatchi, public affairs, corporate communications and events with MSLGROUP, ad tech solutions with VivaKi, media strategy, planning and buying through Starcom MediaVest Group and ZenithOptimedia, healthcare communications, with Publicis Healthcare Communications Group (PHCG), and finally, brand asset production with Prodigious. Present in 108 countries, the Groupe employs more than 76,000 professionals.

www.publicisgroupe.com | Twitter: @PublicisGroupe | Facebook: www.facebook.com/publicisgroupe | LinkedIn: Publicis Groupe | http://www.youtube.com/user/PublicisGroupe | Viva la Difference !

Contacts

Publicis Groupe
Peggy Nahmany Corporate Communications + 33 (0)1 44 43 72 83 peggy.nahmany@publicisgroupe.com
Jean-Michel Bonamy Investor Relations + 33 (0)1 44 43 77 88 jean-michel.bonamy@publicisgroupe.com
Stéphanie Constand Investor Relations + 33 (0)1 44 43 74 44 stephanie.constand@publicisgroupe.com

Appendices

New Business -1er quarter 2015

Mains Gains

BBH/NEOGAMA

Tesco (United Kingdom), Magnum Watches (Brazil), Viva Channel (Brazil), Vale (Brazil).

Leo Burnett

Fererro Chocolates (Italy), Allergan Medical Aesthetics (Singapore), OSN Cable & Network Provider (United Arab Emirates).

MSLGROUP

Alcon (USA), 24 Hour Fitness (USA), Rover.com (USA), AIG (France), Conforama (France), Elior (France), Michelin (France), Cathay Pacific (Netherlands), Ranstad Holding (Netherlands), Nivea (Poland), ThyssenKrupp AG (Poland), ING (Poland), Mahanagar Gas Limited (India), Alstom (India), Belkin International (Singapore, Hong Kong, China), Alibaba.com (China), Orient Europharma (Taiwan).

Publicis Worldwide

Arla (Belgium), Mobistar (Belgium), Fédération des Médecins Omnipraticiens du Québec (Canada), BASF (Brazil), Henkel (Brazil), Metro_ Santiago (Chile), Sodimac (Chile), Universidad de Piura (Peru), Tencent (China), Heinz ABC (Indonesia), Tourism NT (Australia), Civil Engineering Institute (Macedonia), Roche Macedonia (Macedonia).

Saatchi & Saatchi

HomeAway - integrated (c/o) (United Kingdom), Benecol - Pan European (United Kingdom), Praktiker - digital (Poland), Drinkworks/Monteith's Cider (Australia), Bank SA (Australia), Bank of Melbourne (Australia), Berlitz (Japon), Acer (Singapore), ADT (South Africa), Cadillac (United Arab Emirates / Middle East & North Africa).

Starcom MediaVest Group

TomTom (Global), Mars (USA), UNHCR (Italy), Poczta Polska (Poland), Viacom (Poland), Liberty Insurance (Poland),

ZenithOptimedia

eis.de (Allemagne), Pixmania (France), Toyota (Slovakia, Czech Republic), Mercedes-Benz (Romania),
BRD - Groupe Société Générale (Romania), Bella Food (Romania), AXN Europe Limited (Romania), L'Oréal (Bolivia), Viva (Bolivia), ABInBev (Bolivia), Nestlé (Bolivia), NH Hotels (Colombia), Istanbul Cerrahi Hospital (Turkey), The Euroepan Commission (Armenia), Alkaloid (Armenia).

2015 press releases

08-01-2015 Publicis Groupe Extends Tender Offer to Acquire Sapient 15-01-2015 Publicis Groupe Names Anthony Gazagne President of PublicisLive
23-01-2015 Publicis Groupe Extends Tender Offer to Acquire Sapient
27-01-2015 Publicis Groupe Acquires French Digital Marketing Agency Monkees to be aligned with Publicis Activ
29-01-2015 Jean-Michel Bonamy Joins Publicis Groupe as Vice-President Investor Relations & Strategic Financial Planning
04-02-2015 Publicis Groupe and Sapient Receive all Regulatory Approvals for Proposed Acquisition
06-02-2015 Publicis Groupe Completes Acquisition of Sapient
12-02-2015 2014 annual results
16-02-2015 Publicis Groupe and Relaxnews Announce the Start of Exclusive Negotiations in View of the Acquisition of Relaxnews, press agency specialized in lifestyle content creation, at a valuation of €9.58 per share
26-02-2015 Publicis Groupe Acquires Integrated Strategic Communications Agency, Epic Communications. Agency to Join the MSLGROUP Network in South Africa
12-03-2015 Publicis Groupe Strengthens Publicis.Sapient's Leadership in Omni-Channel and Connected Commerce with Acquisition of Expicient Inc
17-03-2015 Share Buyback
25-03-2015 Update On Publicis Groupe Always On Platform
30-03-2015 Share Buyback Contract

Definitions

Net financial debt (or net debt): equals the long and short term financial debt plus associated derivatives fair value, less cash and cash equivalent

Average net debt: average of average monthly net debt.

Operating margin: The operating margin is equal to the revenue after deduction of personnel expenses, other operating expenses (excluding non-current income and expenses), depreciation and amortization (excluding intangible arising from acquisitions).

Operating margin rate: operating margin/revenue.

Organic growth calculation

(in million euros) Q1 2015 Impact of exchange rates by currency
(EUR million)
Q1
2014 revenue 1,597 GBP (2) 16
Currency impact (2) 215 USD (2) 167
2014 revenue at 2015 exchange rates (a) 1,812 Others (2) 32
2015 revenue before impact of acquisitions (1) (b) 1,829 Total 215
Revenue from acquisitions (1) 274
2015 revenue 2,103
Organic growth (b/a) +0.9%

(1) Acquisitions (L&K India, Hawkeye, Lead 2 Action, Salter Baxter, Crown, Proximedia, Ambito 5, Liquorice, Nurun, Turner Duckworth, Tangerine, Run, ZME, Machine, BrandsRock, 3Share, Relevant 24, Monkees, ZO Puerto Rico, AKM3, Vivid, Epic, Spindrift, Star Reacher, Sapient, Expicient, Practice iLeo Romania), net of disposals.

(2) EUR = USD 1.125 in Q1 2015 vs. USD 1.370 in Q1 2014
EUR = GBP 0.743 in Q1 2015 vs. GBP 0.828 in Q1 2014

HUG#1912705

Source:Publicis Groupe