PARIS: Speaking yesterday to French business daily La Tribune, the chairman/ceo of Publicis Groupe admitted there'll be scant cheer for the advertising industry in 2009.

According to Maurice Lévy, who many see as one of the savviest heads on the shoulders of global ad industry, it will be a "very difficult year".

He was equally downbeat about prospects for the fourth quarter of 2008 and revealed that the French marketing services group – the world's fourth largest – has taken the gloom factor into account in budget-setting for 2009.

He also added the not insignificant fact that Publicis has around €2 billion ($2.73bn; £1.58bn) in cash reserves should that be needed.

Lévy was being quizzed by La Tribune following the latest gloomy forecast by Publicis' media unit ZenithOptimedia.

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