Publicis reports 10% full year organic growth

The holding co. is forecasting organic growth of 4% to 5% for 2022 after reporting strong revenue during its Q4 earnings call.

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During this week’s earnings call, French multinational agency Publicis Group reported strong full-year organic revenue growth of 10%.

The holding company, which owns global agencies like Leo Burnett, Saatchi & Saatchi and Starcom, reported total 2021 revenue of €11.74 billion, up 8.8% from €10.79 billion in 2020. Publicis also reported that fourth-quarter organic revenue grew 9.3% compared to the quarter a year earlier and increased 5% from the same quarter in 2019.

The company is forecasting organic sales growth of 4% to 5% for 2022 after its 2021 earnings exceeded pre-pandemic levels. 

Arthur Sadoun, Chairman and CEO of Publicis Groupe, praised the agency’s work in generating net reported billings, topping competitors such as Omnicom, Interpublic, and Havas.

In North America, its largest market, growth was up 6.2% on a reported basis. On an organic basis, North America grew 9.7% versus 2020 (+7% compared to 2019). The U.S. side of the business was up 9.8% and Canada was up 6.1% organically.

Sadoun cited Walmart Media and Data and Planet Fitness as big recent Publicis wins in the U.S. market. Key Canadian business wins include Loblaw Digital (technology), Mackenzie Investments (creative), Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (creative), Region of Peel (creative), Greater Toronto Airports Authority (creative), TD Bank (media), and Torstar Corporation (influence).

For its American business, Publicis Sapient was up 22%, benefitting from both new business and expansion of existing clients.

According to a release “media posted a good performance, both in traditional and digital, while creative activities continued to improve sequentially, with production business growing double-digits.” Publicis Health also grew double-digits for the 7th quarter in a row.

Sadoun said the company’s 2019 acquisition of Epsilon, which has access to its own database of consumer data, helped Publicis navigate a global shift in advertising trends away from the use of third-party cookies. Epsilon grew 6% despite lower activity related to U.S. car dealership business and a tough comparable base in Q4 2020.

According to Sadoun, when it comes to 2022, the Publicis Groupe has three clear priorities.

These include leveraging its assets in data and technology for all clients; delivering growth that is both profitable and responsible; and giving its people more opportunity to progress. The latter included the announcement of a one week salary bonus for all employees who had worked for the company over the past 24 months. It also made progress in terms of meeting its objective of 45% women in key leadership positions by 2025, with the milestone of 41% reached in 2021.

In January, as part of its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, Publicis Groupe Canada launched a series of new DE&I initiatives for 2022, including an educational outreach program for young, racialized Canadians. In 2021, the Groupe also announced it had increased access to mental health benefits to $5,000 annually across the board.