Lowe takes stake in central Europe network GGK Occidental

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LONDON -- The Lowe Group said on October 8 that it's entering a partnership with GGK Occidental, by taking a "substantial" minority interest in the Vienna-based group which since 1989 has dedicated itself to the building a network in Central and Eastern Europe.

The GGK Occidental holding company will be renamed Lowe GGK and the group will continue to operate under its existing management and founding partners - Chairman Hans Schmid and CEO Alexander Lonyay.

GGK Occidental built itself up in Central Europe by linking with local partners. The group now has 16 office across nine countries in the region will annual billings of more than $180m. The network employs more than 300 people and provides above-the-line advertising, as well as direct marketing. It handles media, through its media independent Pan Media. The founding agency, GGK Vienna, is Austria's largest agency.

"With over 300 million sophisticated consumers and a very healthy double-digit growth in advertising expenditure, Central and Eastern Europe is clearly a major growth opportunity," says Frank Lowe, chairman and founder of The Lowe Group. The Lowe Group is the world's 14th largest global ad agency network with billings of $3bn. The network is owned by the Interpublic Group of Cos.

GGK Occidental handles a total of 63 clients. Major clients in Austria include Austrian Airlines, Kodak, and the newly won global account for the Austrian Tourist Board. Major clients in Central/Eastern Europe include Cadbury, Dr Oetker food, Ikea, Tetra Pak and South African breweries.

Until January 1994, GGK Occidental operated for nearly two years with GGT London, a Vienna-based international ad agency network called GGK/GGT. After January 1994, GGT gained control of majority control of the joint venture.

Copyright October 1996, Crain Communications Inc.

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