Europe’s larges outdoor advertising contractor, Sainte Apolline-headquartered J C Decaux announced Wednesday its first half results to June 30 2002.

Overall the group maintained profitability despite a challenging advertising market. Key points from the report are:

• EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax depreciation and amortization) was maintained at €200.2 million ($196.08m; £126.35m) compared with € 199.6m in the same period last year

• EBITDA for the full year is expected to be slightly up on last year

• Net earnings per group share increased 4.5% to €11.5 million (€ 11.0 million year-on-year)

• Net earnings group share, before goodwill and exceptional items, increased 8.4% to €44.1 million (€ 40.7 million last year)

• Free cash flow up 164% to €31.7 million (–€ 49.1 million last year)

The numbers reflect a sound performance from Decaux’ two largest divisions, Street Furniture and Billboard, where reported and organic revenues both rose. However, a continued lower contribution came from the Transport division where airport advertising remained weak.

Commented chairman/co-ceo Jean-Charles Decaux: “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 people spend more time out of home and on the increasing fragmentation of other media.

As to full year prospects, Decaux added: “While the company is cautious on the advertising sector in 2002, it remains confident in its ability to outperform the advertising and outdoor advertising markets. As we've previously indicated, group revenues in the second half of 2002 are expected to be broadly in line with the first and we now expect EBITDA in 2002 to be slightly up compared to last year. ”

Data sourced from: J C Decaux; additional content by WARC staff