* Secures 304 mln euros in new business
* Europe slows, Asia-Pacific accelerates
(Adds CEO comment, detail)
PARIS Nov 7 French advertising agency Havas
said sales rose 11 percent in the third quarter,
helped by strong growth from its digital business.
Revenue was 428 million euros ($546 million) in the three
months to Sept. 30, the company said in a statement on
Wednesday, with growth accelerating in the Americas and
Asia-Pacific while slowing in Europe.
"The macro-economic environment continues to be
challenging," Havas Chief Executive David Jones said in the
statement, adding that the group had increased its share of a
flagging European market.
"Digital continues to accelerate and is an increasingly
important driver of the business," he said.
The firm secured new business worth 304 million euros in the
quarter, with clients including Coca-Cola and insurer AXA
Analysts had expected sales of 421 million euros and organic
growth of 2 percent for the quarter, according to a poll of 6
Like larger rivals Publicis, WPP and
Omnicom, Havas' growth was hurt by lower marketing
spending by big companies, especially in continental Europe and
the U.K., where it earns about 53 percent of its revenues.
What had been hailed as a banner year for the advertising
industry, with the U.S Presidential elections and Olympic Games
meant to boost growth, is ending on a sour note as big companies
take a wait-and-see attitude to their year-end marketing
Advertising spending generally tracks economic growth, so
slowdowns in world markets tend to have a knock-on effect for
Market research group ZenithOptimedia scaled back its target
for growth in global advertising spending this year to 3.8
percent from the 4.3 percent it predicted in
Havas shares have risen nearly 21 percent this year to reach
3.85 euros at Wednesday's close, before the sales announcement.
That compares with an 11.6 percent gain by the Stoxx Europe 600
($1 = 0.7840 euros)
(Reporting by Leila Abboud; Editing by Christian Plumb)