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A weak euro helped Publicis to report forecast-beating organic sales growth in the three months of 2015 and the advertising agency also enjoyed an initial boost from its recent acquisition of smaller peer Sapient. Organic revenue growth was 0.9 percent on sales of 2.1 billion euros ($2.25 billion) in the quarter compared with a year ago, the company said on Tuesday. The world's third-largest advertising agency, which competes with Britain's WPP and America's Omnicom, is trying to turn things around after a difficult 2014 in which its financial performance lagged rivals and its planned merger with Omnicom fell apart. "This is an encouraging start to the year," said Publicis Chief Executive Maurice Levy, who had previously warned investors that growth would pick up only in the second half.
Advertising agency Publicis posted forecast-beating organic sales growth in the first quarter helped by the weak euro and the contribution of its recent acquisition of smaller peer Sapient. Organic revenue growth was 0.8 percent on sales of 2.1 billion euro ($2.25 billion) in the quarter, the company said in a statement on Tuesday. Organic growth slowed from the 3.2 percent seen in the last quarter of 2014, but came in above analysts' forecasts for revenue to shrink by 0.5 percent or rise 0.5 percent. The world's third-largest advertising agency, which competes with Britain's WPP and America's Omnicom, is trying to turn things around after a difficult 2014 in which its financial performance dragged rivals and its much touted merger with Omnicom fell apart.
Publicis Groupe SA, the owner of advertising agencies including Leo Burnett and Saatchi & Saatchi, said first-quarter sales soared 32 percent as the weaker euro and the acquisition of Sapient Corp. added to earnings. Publicis’s Chief Executive Officer Maurice Levy, who bought U.S. digital agency Sapient for $3.7 billion in November to drive digital growth, said the company’s second quarter will beat the first with modest growth that will become “considerably stronger” in the second half of this year. Publicis, the third-largest advertising company, a year ago abandoned a $35 billion merger with Omnicom Group Inc. that would have created the world’s largest ad company because of disagreements over how to run the combined entity. Last year Publicis cut its full-year sales forecast and said the company’s performance weakened because managers were distracted by the failed combination.