Publicis Groupe suffered a 16.9% plunge in first-half net to $352M on flat revenues of $4.5B due to cancellation or postponement of campaigns and lousy economic conditions in Europe and emerging markets.

maurice levyOrganic growth rose 1.8 percent.

CEO Maurice Levy said the figures "are not satisfactory by our standards" and "not consistent with what our operations can achieve."

He's optimistic the French ad/PR combine will rebound during the second-half, adding Publicis is "already on track for higher growth, and that should be evident as of the third quarter."

Though 2014 "will be a difficult year," Levy said the outlook "does not undermine our mid-term prospects."

The collapse of the $35B Publicis/Omnicom acquisition was the highlight of the first six months.

On the PR front, Publicis acquired D.C.-based Qorvis Communications in January.

France turned in a strong 4.2 percent growth, while the UK fell 1.9 percent and Germany dipped 1.2 percent. Southern Europe remained in the dumps.

For Publicis, the so-called BRIC nations were a mix bag Russia rose 5.9 percent, but China turned in a less than expected 1.4 percent growth rate. India and Brazil were in negative territories of -14.7 percent and -0.6 percent, respectively.

Levy anticipated better growth in North America than the +2.8 performance but clients cancelled or put work on hold.