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Publicis reports 78% rise in first-quarter billings

LONDON - Shares in Publicis were down slightly this morning as the world's fifth-largest advertising group posted a record 78.3% rise in first-quarter billings.

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Total billings were €3.6bn (£2.2bn) up from €2bn (£1.2bn) in 2000 and included contributions most notably from Saatchi & Saatchi and Nelson Communications. Comparable billings, excluding contributions from recent acquisitions, climbed 8.2% to €2.2bn (£1.3bn).

The company said its best performance had come from North America, where it saw billings increase to 49.5% from 40.8% during the first quarter of 2000. In Europe, revenues slid from 48% to 38%.

The group showed a slight growth in the Asia Pacific region and Latin American business grew 1% to contribute 4.8% of worldwide revenues.

The group picked up more than €800m (£494.7m) in new business during the quarter, after Publicis Worldwide won a raft of new business including Siemens, Iomega, ATA Airlines and Lens Express accounts in the US and Korea Telecom and Renault Samsung in Korea.

Saatchi & Saatchi scooped the Sudameris Bank pitch in Brazil and Fallon Worldwide picked up United Airlines and the Defence Ministry in the UK.

This morning, Publicis shares fell 3% to €35.8 (£22.14) at 11am (BST) on the Paris Bourse.

Publicis also owns media planning and buying agency Optimedia; marketing communications firm Triangle; marketing business Frankel & Company; and ethnic communications and youth target marketing and PR firm Burrell Communications.

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