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JCDecaux maintains earnings despite collapse of airport advertising

PARIS - JCDecaux, the outdoor advertising company, has maintained earnings over the first half of the year despite a severe decline in airport advertising.

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Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation were €200.2m (£126.7m) for the six months ending June 30 2002, up 0.3% from €199.6m for the same period last year. Revenues were up 3.3% to €779.9m.

Ebitda at JCDecaux's transport business took a massive tumble, down 98.5% to €200,000, a fall the company blamed on the depressed conditions in the airport advertising market, especially in the US since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

However, these losses were offset by gains in billboard earnings of 38.3% to €28.2m and street furniture earnings, up 3.4% to €171.8m. The company also said it had cut capital expenditure from €147.2m in the first half of 2001 to €73.8m this year.

Major new business in the first half of the year includes street furniture contracts in Spain, Copenhagen, Oslo and Seoul. Since the second half began, it has added contracts in Chicago and its first work in Canada.

The group also signed a five-year deal with Unilever, worth over €100m and covering 22 countries in Europe.

Jean-Charles Decaux, chairman and co-chief executive officer, said: "While the advertising market as a whole has been challenging for the past two years, outdoor advertising continues to outperform based on a growing audience, as more people spend time out of home, and on the increasing fragmentation of other media."

He said that looking forward, the company was cautious on the ad sector and was expecting Ebitda for the full year to be up compared with last year.

Shares in the company, traded on the Paris Bourse, were up 0.09% this morning to €11.01.

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