Clients pushed back investments, launches in Q4: Lévy

Maurice Lévy, the chairman and CEO of Publicis Groupe, has hinted that the holding company's revenue growth softened in the final three months of 2013 after some clients pushed back launches or media spending into this year.

PARIS: Maurice Lévy, the chairman and CEO of Publicis Groupe, has hinted that the holding company's revenue growth softened in the final three months of 2013 after some clients pushed back launches or media spending into this year.

In an interview with CNBC broadcast on Friday, Lévy said that "the last quarter is always a quarter of uncertainty, and this year I must say I feel some softness.”

“There are some reasons for that,” he added. “Most of the reason is some of our clients are looking for delivering better bottom line and they are pushing to January or February some of their investments or launches.”

However, Lévy was still positive about the prospects for this year. He said he expects 2014 “will be better than 2013,” helped by the anticipated growth in GDP, the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, and the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

“If you convert the media expenditure into agency revenue, it is above 3%, and we expect that Publicis will be probably ahead of the market,” said Levy. “We have some very good wins, we have a good business pipeline, and we expect 2014 to be better than 2013.”

In the first nine months, Publicis' results were slightly ahead of its objectives, Lévy said.

He added that at the start of the year, [Publicis-owned] ZenithOptimedia's forecast was growth of 4.5% for the industry. “The latest forecast is leading more to 3.5%, which is 100 business points below what was expected,” he said.

Publicis and rival advertising and marketing services holding company Omnicom Group announced plans to merge in July.

This story originally appeared on the website of Campaign.

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