Alain de Pouzilhac, chairman of the world’s number five ad group Havas Advertising, has forecast a dramatic rise in new business over coming months – but whether or not it hits growth targets is very much dependent on the US market.

De Pouzilhac revealed that the ad market had improved since April – so much so that: “It is very likely that in the first half we will do significantly better than in 2000.”

However, it remains uncertain whether Havas can reach in 2001 its self-imposed organic growth target of 10%–15% per annum for the next three years. Organic growth in the first quarter reached just 7.9%, and the chances of hitting the full-year target depend on the US market, which accounts for almost half the world’s total adspend.

Warned de Pouzilhac: “If the US goes down in the second quarter it would not be reasonable to maintain 10% organic growth.”

However, as to the overall outlook for the US ad industry, the Havas chairman was not in prophetic mood: “You should know that on the American market we have a total lack of visibility,” he told shareholders. “You may have a solid boat but you still need to know the state of the sea.”

News source: CampaignLive (UK)