November 20, 2014 / 6:03 PM / 3 years ago

Advertising agency Publicis to unveil strategy plan on Dec 8

BARCELONA, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Publicis will unveil a four-year strategic plan on Dec. 8 and could provide details on its approach to shareholder returns after this month’s deal to buy digital advertising specialist Sapient for $3.7 billion.

Chief Executive Maurice Levy told the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media, and Telecoms conference in Barcelona that the plan would include a pledge to continue to improve growth and margins.

“We’ll give you more details on that and how we will deliver them,” he said on Thursday.

The French group has posted organic sales growth lagging that of its peers since its botched merger with rival Omnicom in May, though it still has the highest operating margins in the sector.

Levy also reiterated an earlier dividend promise for Publicis eventually to pay shareholders 42 percent of its profit.

Asked if there was room for further returns to shareholders after the Sapient deal, Levy left the door open.

“We are the best cash generator of the industry, and with Sapient we will improve even further that position,” Levy said. “After the deal we’ll have a level of debt that is easy to live with and will have ample time and room to treat our shareholders comfortably.”

Reporting by Leila Abboud; Editing by David Goodman

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