Havas sees slowdown in sales growth

Havas has reported a 1.5% rise in organic sales in the third quarter, compared to 9.3% for same period last year. Despite the slowed growth the marketing communications group is maintaining its target operating margin of between 11% and 12% for 2008.

The sales rise for the French group has compared poorly with the 3.9% achieved by rival Publicis Groupe.

Havas chairman Vincent Bollore says sales in the third quarter reached £304m but were hit by the loss of the Dell business in Asia and cutbacks in advertising spend in the US, particularly in the tourism, finance and health sectors.

The group, which owns Euro RSCG and media agency Media Planning Group (MPG), has forecast organic growth of 5-6% for 2008.

The group is set to launch the UK operation of Havas Media with MPG UK managing director Mark Craze to be installed as its chief executive. The move will bring together its agencies MPG, Havas Sports, Cake, Archibald Ingall Stretton and Arena BLM.

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