‘Stalled’ APN pins hopes on aggressive sales to regain lost momentum

APN Outdoor’s 2017 revenues and profits are up 4% over the previous year, the company announced this morning, despite CEO James Warburton describing the company as ‘stalling’ during 2017.

To counter the ‘stall’, Warburton flagged to investors a more aggressive sales culture coupled with increased technology investments and a rebranding of the business overseen by Sydney branding agency Hulsbosch.

APN Outdoor’s revamped logo

“Media moves at an exceptional pace and when you stall, you fall behind,” said Warburton, who described the company as a ‘sleeping giant’ last week, with the company reporting an EBITDA of $90.3 million on $329 million revenue.

Like its competitors Ooh Media and QMS, the company reaped a digital dividend with the digitalisation of billboards delivering 10% growth with its 125 Elite Screens contributing 38% – $48.9 million – of the company’s total $128.6 million digital revenues.

The company’s results trailed against its competitors, with the 4% improvement comparing poorly against Ooh’s 13% and QMS’ 22% revenue increases. Warburton noted the company had lost two percentage points of market share during the investor presentation.

Losing Yarra Trams weighed heavily on the company, with a forecast $7 million hit on its bottom line.

The retirement of APN Outdoor’s previous CEO, Richard Herring, in August cost the company $1.7 million, including legal fees and other charges, while failed merger with Ooh Media incurred another $3.4 million dollar hit to the bottom line.

Commenting on the FY17 results, CEO Warburton said: “The FY17 result was a credible outcome in a challenging environment. Underlying EBITDA of $90.3m was within our guidance range provided in August, albeit at the lower end of the range.

APN Outdoor CEO James Warburton: “The out of home industry has untapped potential.”

“At only circa 6% of the overall advertising industry, the out-of-home industry has untapped potential. In addition, our contract renewal exposure for 2018 and 2019 has reduced to single digits given the recent renewals won including Sydney Trains just last week.

“APN Outdoor has a clear strategy going forward, focused on the evolution of APN Outdoor as we shift to become an audience-led, sales centric media business.”

As part of Warburton’s strategy, the company expects to invest $2 million in innovation and technology to drive revenue, particularly in airport advertising and the development of new digital display formats.


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