Publicis Groupe: Full Year 2021 Results

Strong Q4 and record year on all KPIs

  • Full year 2021 organic growth at +10% with Q4 at +9.3% ahead of expectations

  • Epsilon and Publicis Sapient accretive to overall 2021 performance at +12.8% and +13.8% respectively

  • Exceeding 2019 levels with +3% organic growth in 2021, accelerating to +5% in second half

  • N°1 in new business league tables in 2021 for the 3rd time in four years

  • Industry-leading financial ratios, with operating margin rate at 17.5% and Free Cash Flow[1] at €1.4bn

  • A bonus for all employees; an exceptional one-week additional salary for the 35,000 with no variable remuneration

  • 2022 guidance: organic growth between +4% and +5%, c. 17.5% operating margin rate and c. €1.4bn FCF1

  • 2021 proposed dividend at €2.40 with a 47.8% payout, fully paid in cash

Arthur Sadoun, Chairman and CEO of Publicis Groupe:

“In 2021, Publicis published record numbers and exceeded 2019 levels across all of its KPIs. 

We delivered +10% full year organic growth, with Q4 at +9.3%, above expectations, and a strong performance across all of our regions.

Both Epsilon and Publicis Sapient were accretive to our full year growth, at +12.8% and +13.8% respectively, as we were in a position to capture the structural shifts in the industry towards first-party data management, digital media, commerce, and business transformation.

Looking at our performance on a two-year basis, we exceeded 2019 levels faster and more strongly than expected, at 3% growth for the full year that accelerated to 5% in the second half. The U.S., where our model is the most advanced, was a strong contributor to this performance, growing +8% versus 2019. 

We also continued to post industry-leading financial ratios in 2021, with our operating margin rate at 17.5% and a free cash flow at 1.4 billion euros. With this, we are in a position to propose a dividend of 2.40 euros, corresponding to a payout of 47.8%.

2021 was a record year not just financially, but also commercially. For the third time in the past four years, we topped the New Business rankings as league tables placed us well-ahead of the pack, with landmark wins including Stellantis, Walmart, and Meta, to name just a few. We also started 2022 on a high note, with the win of McDonald’s U.S.

We are emerging from the pandemic as a stronger company, and a better one. The progress we have made across our Environmental, Social and Governance strategy is setting a clear industry standard. Our combined efforts on this front have led to Publicis topping the rankings for our sector with 8 out of 10 leading ESG ratings agencies.

I’d like to thank our clients for their partnership and everyone at Publicis for their dedication since the beginning of the crisis. In recognition of their outstanding efforts, everybody who has been with us for the past 24 months and beyond will receive a bonus this year. This includes the 35,000 who do not have any variable remuneration and will receive an additional week’s salary.

Now, when it comes to 2022, we have three clear priorities: leveraging our unique assets in data and technology for all of our clients; giving our people more opportunity to progress, with unprecedented experiences like Work Your World; and delivering growth that is both profitable and responsible.

Our overall dynamic, driven by the strength of our model and new business wins means that we aim to deliver organic growth between 4% and 5% in 2022, with an operating margin and free cash flow at the same record levels as in 2021, circa 17.5% and 1.4 billion euros respectively.”

[1] Free Cash Flow (FCF) before change in Working Capital requirement


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.