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JCDecaux profits up 7.7% for first half of 2007

LONDON - JCDecaux has recorded a 7.7% rise in profits for the first half of 2007, following a strong performance in its transport and billboard divisions globally, with the UK putting in the best billboard performance overall.

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The group reported a 7.7% rise in revenues to €1bn (£670m) for the six months ending June 30 2007 year-on-year, with a 12.1% rise in transport to €266.5m and 8.9% increase in billboard ads to €242.2m contributing to what it has described as "strong organic revenue growth" across all regions, with the exception of France.

The strongest organic revenue performer overall regionally was the UK, which rose 16.4% to €146.2m, with Asia Pacific returning a 14.6% increase to €130.8m, North America climbing 7.8% to €66.4m, and Rest of World also up 14.7% to €7.9m. The only region not to return an increase year-on-year was France, which dropped 2.0% to €288.7m.

JCDecaux said the UK was the strongest overall performer in its billboard division, which it attributed to its recently signed BT payphones contract, with double-digit growth also recorded in Spain.

Transport performed strongly worldwide, with double-digit organic revenue growth in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Scandinavia, China, Hong Kong and the US.

Global street furniture revenue grew 5.1% to €510.3m, with JCDecaux describing marketing conditions as "favourable" across many regions, including Scandinavia, which achieved double-digit growth, and solid performances in the UK and Germany.

The group said street furniture revenues in the second quarter in France were flat, adding that market conditions were "challenging" during April and May because of the French elections and the decision by specialist retailers to migrate from street furniture to TV ads.

Jean-Francois Decaux, chairman and co-chief executive officer at JCDecaux, said: "As anticipated, overall organic revenue growth accelerated in the second quarter compared to the first, reflecting strong performances from our transport and billboard divisions, and revenue progression in all our geographies, with the exception of France, where advertising revenues were flat.

"We continue to expect that our organic revenue growth in 2007 will be similar to that of 2006, within a likely range of 7%-8%, reflecting ongoing strength in the transport division, a stronger growth rate in street furniture and improved market conditions in France."

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