The worldwide advertising industry will see a recovery this year, Alain de Pouzilhac, chairman and ceo of Paris-headquartered global agency group Havas Advertising, told French business daily La Tribune on Thursday.

The global trend toward a faster-than-anticipated recovery had made him more optimistic, said de Pouzilhac – who only two months previously had opined that any silver lining would remain hidden until 2003.

Havas itself would enjoy organic growth of 2% in 2002, he predicted: “We expect a strong earnings recovery”. Nor was he concerned that Havas might be marginalized by Publicis Groupe’s takeover of Bcom3. The merger, said de Pouzilhac, could lead to account conflicts whereas Havas’ goal is “to stay focused on our clients”.

Separately, de Pouzilhac declared his disinterest in bidding for Britain's troubled Cordiant Communications. Although Havas has never implied any such interest, media observers and analysts alike have speculated for months as to its probability.

Disappointed at the fade-out of prospects for a quick killing, market punters devalued Cordiant stock by 10.16% to £0.84 ($1.20; €1.37) by noon Friday, down from last night's closing price of £0.935.

Data sourced from: BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff