Publicis Groupe Sees Strong First Quarter

Flooding in Australia hurt company, but not too badly

Publicis Groupe kicked off 2011 with a strong start, highlighted by $1.9 billion in net new business. On an earnings call Thursday, Chairman Maurice Lévy trumpeted new business from Microsoft as a “formidable win . . . against all the big boys.”

The company did see a decline in its numbers in Australia, which the company attributed to the devastating results of the January flooding there. One analyst on the call pointed out that British marketing company Aegis reported it saw no change in business following floods in the region. In response, Levy said he was “happy to see they’re not affected. My understanding is that the market is affected, but maybe I’m wrong.” (Omnicom also reported that its numbers in Australia dipped during the first quarter following the natural disaster.)

Publicis Groupe reported first quarter revenue of roughly $1.8 billion, up almost 11 percent from the same period last year. Digital business accounted for 28 percent of the company’s total revenue.