Havas Q2: 1,200 Jobs Lost; "At Least We Ain't IPG!"

Last Updated Sep 1, 2009 12:33 PM EDT

Havas has laid off off 1,200 of its staff since June 2008, according to a presentation it made to investors this morning. Havas -- which consists largely of Euro RSCG and Havas Media -- had not previously totalled the number of jobs it cut across its network. The cuts represent about 8 percent of its workforce, which now numbers 13,900.

Havas also reported that it cut freelance expenses by 25 percent and bonuses were down 60 percent.

Havas reported a predictably dismal first half, with organic revenues down 9.2 percent to €700 million; net income was down 18 percent to €40 million.

The company included this cheeky graphic of revenues in its presentation (click to enlarge). One of the advantages of reporting your numbers last is you can draw insulting comparisons with the companies that went ahead of you:

Source: Havas investor presentation. The message seems to be: Do you think we suck? Check out IPG!

The agency network's finances currently raise more questions than answers: Last week, rival network Aegis, with whom Havas is frequently linked in merger speculation, said there were no talks between the two companies.

The finances of both Aegis and Havas are currently so gloomy that from a strategic point of view a merger might make a lot of sense. But, despite that -- and the frequently stated wishes of Havas chief Vincent Bollore -- no merger is happening. Why not? We don't know.

The theory that BNET aired in June -- that declines in Bollore's holdings in both companies have so damaged his finances that it is impossible for him to execute -- is now moot, as both company's stocks have recovered a significant portion of their losses.

Havas also stopped issuing guidance for the rest of the year -- never a good sign.