Publicis posts weak Q4 hurt by emerging markets

PARIS Thu Feb 13, 2014 1:39am EST

PARIS Feb 13 (Reuters) - Advertising agency Publicis fell short of its annual growth target after a slowdown in emerging markets such as China and India caused the fourth quarter to end with a whimper.

Publicis, which is working to complete a $35 billion merger with U.S. rival Omnicom to create the world's biggest ad group, said the weakness was temporary and predicted a rebound to 4 percent organic sales growth in 2014.

Publicis also said on Thursday that it aimed to keep improving its operating profit margins this year, which rose to 16.5 percent from 16.1 percent in 2013 despite the "disappointment" on growth.

"This is not a reversal of the market," said Chief Executive Maurice Levy. (Reporting by Leila Abboud and Gwenaelle Barzic; Editing by James Regan)

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