Clients pushed back investments or launches in Q4 2013, says Maurice Lévy

Maurice Lévy, the chairman and chief executive of Publicis Groupe, has hinted the group's revenue growth softened in the final three months of 2013, after some of its clients pushed back new launches or media spend into 2014.

In an interview with business TV station CNBC, broadcast earlier today, Lévy said: "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. 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 Olympics in Sochi.

Lévy said: "If you convert the media expenditure into agency revenue it is above three per cent and we expect that Publicis will be probably ahead of the market. 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 Groupe’s results were slightly ahead of its objectives, Lévy said.

He said that at the start of the year, [Publicis Groupe-owned] ZenithOptimedia’s forecast was growth of 4.5 per cent for the industry. "The latest forecast is leading more to 3.5 per cent, which is 100 business points below what was expected," he said.

Publicis Groupe and rival communications group Omnicom announced plans to merge in July last year.

The video above was originally broadcast by CNBC on 3 January 2014.
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