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Publicis growth target warning

Tuesday, July 22 09:47:45

French advertising agency Publicis warned it would be "very difficult" to meet its annual target of 4 percent organic sales growth after a second-quarter slowdown caused in part by the failure of its planned merger with Omnicom in May.

Organic sales growth fell to 0.5 percent from 3.3 percent in the first quarter, below analysts' expectations, with growth in North America not enough to offset weakness in Europe and sluggishness in China and India.

Its shares fell 6 percent to 55.35 euros at 0759 GMT on Tuesday, their lowest point since August last year, a month after the planned "merger of equals" with Omnicom was unveiled.

Publicis is the world's third-largest ad agency after Britain's WPP PLC and its deal with number two Omnicom was supposed to create the world's largest agency, best-equipped to compete in the Internet era. They called it off in early May after a battle for control and divergent corporate cultures.

Publicis Chief Executive Maurice Levy also blamed the strong euro for chipping away at Publicis' growth - currency effects stripped 148 million euros out of revenue in the first half.


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