Publicis shares soar on sales ‘upside surprise’

First-quarter sales above market expectations

Maurice Levy, chief executive officer of Publicis Groupe SA. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Maurice Levy, chief executive officer of Publicis Groupe SA. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

 

Publicis shares saw their biggest rally in more than a year after the French advertising group, led by Maurice Lévy, reported first-quarter sales that came in above market expectations.

The stock closed up 6.18 per cent on the day at €76.81 after the owner of the Saatchi & Saatchi and Leo Burnett ad agencies said first-quarter organic revenue rose 0.9 per cent compared with the same quarter last year.

Analysts expected the figure to be 0.5 per cent higher at best. Claudio Aspesi at Bernstein described the sales figures as “a nice upside surprise and we suspect there might be more to come”.

The Paris-based group said it had sales of €2.1 billion during the first three months, outpacing market estimates of €1.99 billion and increasing 31.7 per cent on a reported basis. That jump was largely thanks to the inclusion of Sapient, following its $3.7 billion acquisition .

Publicis also benefited from the weaker euro, with exchange rate fluctuations contributing a positive €215 million, 13.5 per cent of revenue, in the period.

Mr Lévy forecast the second quarter would be better and the second half of the year “considerably stronger”. © Financial Times Limited 2015