Publicis Groupe: First Half 2021 Results

Full recovery with all KPIs exceeding 2019 levels

  • Q2 organic growth at +17.1%, more than recovering vs. Q2 2020 at -13.0%
    • New acceleration in the U.S. at +15.2%, with Epsilon at +31.1% and Publicis Sapient at +27.0%
    • Continued momentum in Asia at +13.6%, Europe rebounding at +23.0%
    • U.S. and Asia at +7% organic growth vs. 2019
  • Full recovery in H1 overall
    • Organic growth at +9.7% vs. -8.0% in H1 2020
    • All-time high operating margin rate at 16.5% in a first-half
    • Growth of +27% in Headline EPS at €2.23 and +22% in Free Cash Flow at €605m
  • Number 1 in rankings in New Business in H1
  • Upgrade of all 2021 guidance KPIs with full recovery expected in one year instead of two: organic growth at 7%, operating margin rate at 17%, Free Cash Flow between €1.2bn and €1.3bn

Arthur Sadoun, Chairman and CEO of Publicis Groupe:

“In the first half of the year, we had a very strong performance thanks to our model in an improving business environment.

Not only did we fully recover the revenue lost in 2020, but all of our KPIs over the first half exceeded 2019 levels.

In Q2, we posted +17.1% organic growth, improving by 2% compared to 2019, despite the effects of the pandemic.

This overperformance was largely driven by the U.S. and Asia, which both grew +7% versus 2019.

Our U.S operations posted 15.2% organic growth in Q2, with Epsilon, PMX and Sapient all delivering above +25%. Asia also accelerated further with +13.6% organic growth. Europe rebounded from a low base to +23%, mirroring the progressive lifting of lockdowns.

In H1 overall, we posted organic growth of +9.7%, leading to an operating margin rate at 16.5%, the group’s highest ever for a first half period, while our free cash flow up 22%, at €605 million. 

What is more, we once again topped new business rankings for the first half of the year, thanks to a strong run of wins.

For the remaining part of the year, our ability to capture a disproportionate part of our clients’ investment in data and technology means we are in a position to upgrade our 2021 guidance. We now expect to totally recover to pre-pandemic levels, a year ahead of our initial expectations, with full year organic growth at 7% and full recovery in H2, and an operating margin of 17%, provided there are no major deteriorations in the global sanitary situation. 

 I’d like to thank our teams for their incredible efforts in this first half of the year, and our clients for their trust and partnership. In H2 we are focused on the execution of our plan, in a context that remains challenging in many parts of the world. »


Publicis Groupe [Euronext Paris FR0000130577, CAC 40] is a global leader in communication. The Groupe is positioned at every step of the value chain, from consulting to execution, combining marketing transformation and digital business transformation. Publicis Groupe is a privileged partner in its clients’ transformation to enhance personalization at scale. The Groupe relies on ten expertise concentrated within four main activities: Communication, Media, Data and Technology. Through a unified and fluid organization, its clients have a facilitated access to all its expertise in every market. Present in over 100 countries, Publicis Groupe employs around 103,000 professionals.