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Publicis encouraged by accelerating organic growth

PARIS - Publicis Groupe has recorded a 2% rise in revenues for the quarter to €918m and said that the pace of organic growth was accelerating, with encouraging signs in the European ad market.

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The French advertising group, which owns Saatchi & Saatchi, Leo Burnett and Publicis Worldwide, along with the media agencies ZenithOptimedia and Starcom MediaVest Group, said revenues were up by over €1bn for the quarter to €2.79bn (£1.65bn), as a result of the consolidation of figures from the acquisition of Bcom3 in September 2002.

Publicis attributed the growth in organic revenue to an improvement in the global advertising market, especially in North America and Asia Pacific.

It said there were encouraging signs in Europe, although as a whole there was organic shrinkage, notably in France.

Maurice Levy, chief executive officer of Publicis, said: "During the third quarter, the global advertising market continued to improve, thanks to confirmed growth in North America, in the Asia-Pacific region and through a slight recovery in Latin America.

"On the other hand, the situation in Europe remains a concern and, if the German market seems to be stabilising, several significant European markets still remain difficult. The year 2003 should nevertheless provide us with the first year of growth in the advertising market for three years."

Levy was upbeat about the prospects for 2004 and said that he was confident that Publicis could meet its target of 15% operating margin in the last half of this year -- a figure that was met with scepticism when first proposed. He also said that the company's ambition was to achieve the same margin for the full year in 2004.

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