Publicis hikes 2022 guidance once again after Q3 beat

A logo of Publicis Groupe is seen at its exhibition space, at the Viva Technology conference dedicated to innovation and startups at Porte de Versailles exhibition center in Paris, France June 15, 2022. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo

Oct 18 (Reuters) - Publicis Groupe (PUBP.PA), the world's third-biggest advertising group, on Tuesday raised its full-year guidance for the second time this year, after posting better-than-expected third-quarter organic revenue growth.

The company forecasts organic growth at 8.5% compared with 6%-7% previously and an operating margin rate close to 18%, up from 17.5% to 18%.

"For the third quarter in a row, our model allowed us to deliver double-digit growth," Chairman and CEO Arthur Sadoun said in a statement, as the group continued to benefit from clients shifting toward first-party data management, digital media and business transformation.

The group, which posted all-time high results in July, is continuing its growth momentum despite high inflation and global economic slowdown.

Sadoun said in a call with journalists it was still too soon to give guidance for 2023, but the group had not seen a significant impact from clients cutting costs.

Even if clients reduced their advertising spending, these cuts would be made to so-called traditional marketing budgets, he said.

"We are absolutely convinced that our clients, as we see every day, will continue to invest in their transformation, whether it be marketing or digital," Sadoun told journalists.

Publicis saw its digital and data-driven businesses Sapient and Epsilon grow respectively 18.1% and 13.9% in the third quarter.

Home to ad agencies Leo Burnett and Saatchi & Saatchi, the group posted a third-quarter organic growth of 10.3%, above analysts' estimate of 5.1% in a consensus provided by the company.

Publicis, which has on average increased salaries by 7% so far this year, said it would give a one-off bonus of one-week salary for half of its employees, to help them cope with inflation as the holiday season approaches.

Reporting by Federica Mileo and Valentine Baldassari in Gdansk; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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