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PARIS -- Shares in France's Publicis Group rose 3.35%, to $32.50, during strong trading on the Paris Bourse, or stock market, on news that the company's billings, revenues and net profit rose sharply during 2000.

Publicis, the world's fifth-largest consolidated advertising group, reported billings of $10.9 billion in 2000, up 72% from billings in 1999.

Similarly, the group reported revenues of $1.6 billion, up 70% on revenues in 1999, and a net profit before amortization and exception charges of $139 million, up 83% on the previous year's figure. It also reported net earnings-per-share of $1.29, representing a 49% increase over 1999, and will pay a cash dividend of $0.19 per share, reflecting an 18% increase over last year.

The results consolidate acquisitions made during the year, from the date of purchase. Thus Publicis' $2.1 billion acquisition of U.K.-based Saatchi & Saatchi contributes four months to the final result, while the late-1999 takeover of U.S.-based health care specialist Nelson Communications contributes two months to the final results.

Publicis Chairman Maurice Levy is scheduled to give a detailed briefing of the results to analysts and journalists on March 16 in Paris.

Copyright March 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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