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Publicis revenues grow steadily over first half of year

LONDON - Publicis Groupe has achieved year-on-year organic revenue growth of 6.8% to €2.12bn (£1.45bn) for the first half of 2006, with chairman and CEO Maurice Levy saying prospects remain 'very satisfactory'.

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The group won $1.6bn (£861m) in new business, including the creative accounts for Maytag and Cable & Wireless in the US and Toshiba's digital account in the UK and Europe. However, it also lost the creative accounts for Cadillac and Beck's in the US.

On the media planning and buying front, it won Beam Spirits & Wine global.

In Europe, organic revenue growth accelerated from the first to the second quarters driven by new accounts and, to a lesser extent, the World Cup. In the second quarter, the growth rate was 6.3% compared with the first half rate of 4.8%. Europe was the slowest-growing region over the first half after North America at 6.6%, Asia-Pacific at 7.6%, Latin America at 11.1% and Africa and the Middle East at 39.5%.

The group's net income climbed by 50% year on year from €130m in the first half of 2005 to €180m in the first half of 2006.

Levy said: "First-half 2006 results were fully in line with the goals we had set for ourselves, with organic growth close to 7%, margins rising once again, and average debt down. Our growth prospects remain very satisfactory and we stand by our full-year targets."

The group's operating margin rose from 14.9% to 15.2% and Levy said his objective was to raise this to 16.7% in 2008.

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