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Havas organic growth slips in third quarter

PARIS - Havas has reported that organic growth for the third quarter of 2008 was up by 1.5%, compared with 9.3% for the same period last year, which it blamed on the loss of the Dell account in Asia Pacific and a tough North American market.

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Havas, the French holding company that owns creative group Euro RSCG and media agency MPG, reported some upbeat numbers, saying that growth over the first nine months of the year was up by 5.8% to €1.12bn (£956m), that it had made good progress with new business wins and was on target to hit its forecast profit margin of 11%-12%.

In the past three months revenues from North America fell from €128m last year to €112m this year, and Asia Pacific dropped back from €19m to €15m -- offsetting gains made in other regions.

Havas, in the announcement, said: "Despite the worsening economic climate in Europe as a whole, our main agencies continue to perform satisfactorily on the main national markets, France and Spain in particular.

"Third quarter growth in the United States was penalized by an exceptionally high basis for comparison in 2007 and by a significant reduction in advertising spend in certain sectors such as banking and tourism.

"These alone account for a four point fall in our organic growth in the zone."

Account wins in recent months include the global digital brief from Jaguar, won by Euro RSCG.

Net new business for the first nine months stood at €1.45bn.

Havas is chaired by French businessman Vincent Bollore.

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