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JCDecaux first-half revenues rise 3.3%

LONDON - Outdoor advertising giant JCDecaux remains cautious about the advertising market, despite announcing a 3.3% rise in first-half revenues to €779.9m (£496m).

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The company said it did not expect the advertising market to pick up in the second half and that it does not expect to see a recovery in its transport division, which operates across 152 airports and 30 rail transit systems worldwide, before 2003.

Advertising revenues were up from €755.1m in the first half of 2001, boosted by a €100m five-year pan-European advertising deal with consumer goods giant Unilever signed in April.

The company said that, on a like-for-like basis, excluding acquisitions, revenues decreased by 0.9% as a result of continued weakness from its transport division.

Its billboard division helped stabilise the company's financial performance with revenues up 9.6% to €218.2m from €199.1m last time. Its street furniture division saw revenues climb 5% to €417.2m from €397.5m in the same period last year.

Jean-Charles Decaux, chairman and joint CEO, said: "Looking ahead, we would expect the group's revenues in the second half of the year to be broadly in line with the first. While remaining cautious on the advertising market as a whole, street furniture visibility remains positive and there are early signs of improvement in billboard. However, we do not expect to see a recovery in transport until 2003."

The transport division received some welcome news on Tuesday when MTR Corporation, Hong Kong's biggest subway operator, renewed its advertising contract for its four urban rail networks with JCDecaux for a further five years.

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