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Publicis Groupe reports 'record year' despite Q4 softening

Publicis Groupe, the owner of Saatchi & Saatchi and Starcom MediaVest Group, had a "record year" in 2013 with pre-tax income up nine per cent despite revenue softening in the final three months.

Maurice Lévy: the chairman and chief executive of Publicis Groupe

Maurice Lévy: the chairman and chief executive of Publicis Groupe

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According to its 2013 annual results, Publicis Groupe generated revenue of €1.93 billion (£1.27 billion) in the final three months of the year, up 1.5 per cent year on year, but representing organic growth of 0.7 per cent.

In Europe, Publicis Groupe generated revenue of €621 million (£507 million) in Q4, up 8.4 per cent year on year on a reported basis, but representing organic growth of just 0.1 per cent.

Publicis Groupe's global revenue was €6.95 billion (£5.68 billion) in 2013, up 5.2 per cent (or 2.6 per cent on an organic basis). Its pre-tax income was €1.10 billion, up 8.8 per cent year on year.

Across the full year, Publicis Groupe’s European operation generated income of €2.06 billion (£1.68 billion), up 9.5 per cent on a reported basis, but a decline of 1.6 per cent organically. Despite the organic decline, Publicis Groupe said Europe has sent "encouraging signals", with a slight improvement in France and 1.4 per cent growth in the UK.

Maurice Lévy, the chairman and chief executive of Publicis Groupe, said: "Our performance was outstanding and ahead of schedule for our 2018 targets.

"The only cloud on the horizon was our organic growth in the fourth quarter, which was affected by campaigns being cancelled or postponed, particularly in the emerging markets.

"Our client portfolio, overweighed in the luxury sector, undoubtedly caused us to have a greater exposure than the market. This one-time blip does not call into question our growth plan, particularly for 2014."

Publicis Groupe is working towards merging with fellow marketing services company Omnicom later this year. The merger was originally tabled for the Q1 of this year, but Omnicom said earlier this month that it is now likely to occur in the third quarter.

Lévy said: "The merger project is progressing steadily; we are currently working through the long process of obtaining the relevant administrative authorisations, one that is advancing smoothly.

"I wish to thank all our clients for their support and confidence and all of our people around the world for the quality of their work and their efforts."

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