The value of the day in Paris – Publicis dominates the CAC 40 thanks to the new increase in annual objectives

(AOF) – Publicis (+ 2.16% to 56.68 euros) is projected among the strongest increases in the CAC 40 by the second increase in 2022 objectives of the year. This progression has enabled the communication group to reduce its losses on the stock market to 4% since January 1, knowing that only 3 stocks in the index have posted a positive performance over this period: Thales, TotalEnergies and Renault. Publicis allows itself to be more optimistic about 2022 thanks to a much more dynamic third quarter than expected.

The communication group is now counting on an expected organic growth of around 8.5%, against an increase expected between 6% and 7% previously. It is also targeting an anticipated operating margin rate close to 18%, against 17.5% to 18% previously. Finally, it wants to achieve a free cash flow close to 1.6 billion euros, against at least 1.5 billion euros previously.

Publicis had a particularly well-oriented third quarter. Its revenues reached 3.24 billion euros, representing organic growth of 10.3%. Its like-for-like expansion was thus twice as large as expected: +5.1%.

The group experienced an acceleration in organic growth compared to the pre-pandemic level: +16% in the third quarter versus 2019, after +12% in the second quarter and +10% in the first quarter.

Analysts attribute the good performance in the third quarter of 2022 in particular to Publicis Sapient (up 18.1%) and Epsilon (up 13.9%).

Trends are still very solid by region, particularly in the United States and Europe, up 11% and 11.1% respectively.

Arthur Sadoun, Chairman of the Management Board of Publicis Groupe, commented on its results: “Our third quarter figures are clearly encouraging. But our performance against the pre-pandemic level is even more notable. Compared to 2019, our organic revenue growth accelerated to +16% in the third quarter. This demonstrates our ability to overcome the vagaries of the global economy, and thus to face the current uncertainty.

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Key points

– World number 3 in marketing, communication and digital business transformation, created in 1926;

– Turnover of €10.5 billion split between 4 “Solutions Hubs”: Publicis Communications (creative networks), Publicis Media, Publicis Sapient (digital and consulting) and Publicis Health;

– Strong position in the Americas (63% of revenues), ahead of Europe (24%) and Asia-Pacific (10%);

– Business model broken down into 4 strengths: personalized solutions via data, creativity, large-scale targeting for media and proprietary digital channels;

– Open capital (Elisabeth Badinter holding 6.74% of the capital and 12.36% of the voting rights), Maurice Lévy being chairman of the 12-member supervisory board, Elisabeth Badinter vice-chairman and Arthur Sadoun chairman of the management board;

– Healthy balance sheet, with net debt of €1.5 billion and free cash flow of €1.2 billion.

Challenges

– Waiting for a new strategic plan after the realization of “Sprint for the future“;

– Innovation strategy focused on: consumer behavior analysis: mathematical and statistical solutions for media-planning, digital data management within MarketForward, organization of the annual Viva Technology forum, offer to customers of technological platforms… / platform Marcel artificial intelligence work reorganization;

– “Consume less and better” environmental strategy: 2030 objectives compared to 2009 exceeded for the use of renewable energies (33.5%) and energy efficiency (1.95 Mwh per employee) and on the way for energy intensity carbon (3.78) / CSR Smart Data open platform;

– Reinforcement of the digital transformation offer for customers via acquisitions of companies integrated into Sapiens or Epsilon and expected around €500 million for 2022;

– Continued big budget wins and strong demand for first-party data and digital-first media.

Challenges

– Sensitivity of sales and results to the parity of the euro (15% of revenues) against the dollar (52%) and the sterling (10%);

– Impact of the Russia-Ukraine war: marginal, with transfer of control of local agencies to their managers and logistical assistance to the 300 Ukrainian employees;

– 2022 objective, confirmed after a dynamic start to the financial year, of an increase in turnover of 4 to 5%, an operating margin of 17.5% and free cash flow of 1.4 billion €;

– 2021 dividend of €2.4, i.e. 45% of the distribution rate, expected between 45 and 50% in 2022.

Growth of online advertising slowed down

After a record year in 2021, advertisers are now more cautious. In the first quarter, online advertising recorded growth limited to 7% for Meta, the lowest level since its IPO in 2012. The ex-Facebook is particularly impacted by Apple’s new system which restricts the ad targeting. Indeed, applications in iPhones must now ask their users if their data can be shared with third parties for advertising purposes. According to an industry expert, the shortfall for Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Snapchat could approach $16 billion in 2022.

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The value of the day in Paris – Publicis dominates the CAC 40 thanks to the new increase in annual objectives


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