Ooh Media key formats hit 75% of pre-COVID revenue but Q1 declines 22%

Cathy O’Connor’s first CEO address for Ooh Media at today’s AGM revealed that the outdoor company’s COVID recovery is ongoing, as she provided a trading update on Q1 as well as pacing for April and May.

Total revenue for Ooh Media declined 22% year-on-year in the quarter, putting Ooh ahead of out of home sector which saw a 24% decline.

Ooh Media CEO Cathy O’Connor

Those results come off the back of a 34% revenue fall for CY20 to $426.5 million. At the conclusion of 2020, Ooh reported underlying EBITDA of $63.2 million in CY20 compared to $139 million in CY19. Net loss after tax was $35.7 million for the year.

In her address today, O’Connor revealed that key formats of road, retail, street furniture and its New Zealand operations have reached 75% of pre-COVID revenue. In aggregate, those formats are currently performing at 95% of Q1 2019 and 2020, and represented 88% of Q1 revenue this year.

“These formats have continued to recover strongly from the impact of COVID-19 in the first quarter…” O’Connor said. “Road in particular has performed well, consistently outpacing 2019.”

Other formats including flight, office, rail and youth continue to struggle, traditionally accounting for 25% of Ooh Media revenue. In Q1, they were only trading at 36% of the first quarter of 2019 and 2020. They represented 12% of Q1 revenue this year.

O’Connor admitted that April was a “softer month” for the out-of-home market, but “May pacing is stronger… the road format ii particular remains in strong demand,” she added.

Ooh’s COVID rent abatements contracted to date approximate $12 million for the first half of the year. Meanwhile, capital expenditure for CY21 is expected to be materially lower than FY19 ($56 million).

“Ooh remains well-positioned to leverage the audience and revenue recovery already evident across our key formats,” O’Connor said.

“We continue to promote our metropolitan, suburban and regional audience strength as market leader.”

Ooh Media will continue to invest across its asset base, O’Connor said, and the company has identified a $100 million to $150 million for investment into revenue-generating assets over the next four years.

O’Connor continued: “We are well placed to leverage the improvement in market conditions and audience growth with the most comprehensive network of assets across Australia/NZ and the most insightful data to help advertisers reach desired audiences.”

During the AGM, Ooh Media chair Tony Faure was asked about the state of the Sydney Trains contract, which is currently out for tender.

His response was: “It’s our policy not to comment on live tenders. What I can say is that no one contract represents more than 6% of our revenue. We are very aware that winning a contract isn’t a win if the rent commitment doesn’t support [the financial side].”

In his address, he also revealed that dividends will remain suspended after none were payable for CY20.

“We will revisit this intent in future periods based on the prevailing market conditions and with the consent of our lenders.”


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