‘Unprecedented softness’ hits oOh!media

Outdoor advertiser oOh!media says “unprecedented” media market softness, federal election fallout and a weak economy have underpinned a mixed full-year performance in which revenue edged higher but profit took a hit. 

Chief executive Brendon Cook said his company had bounced back from a difficult second and third quarter to deliver revenue growth in line with the out-of-home ad market and achieve its revised underlying earnings target. 

Mr Cook, who last month announced he was leaving the business, confirmed the company had taken an expected hit from advertising softness around the federal election in May. 

Excluding leasing impacts and factoring in the underlying FY18 result of Adshel before its acquisition, oOh!media’s revenue edged 1.0 per cent higher to $649.6 million.

Underlying earnings in the year to December 31 fell 5.0 per cent to $139 million, reflecting a tough media environment within the company’s revised outlook.

The company, which also owns online masthead Junkee, said in January it was on track to meet underlying earnings guidance at the lower end of its $138 million to $143 million range, which had been raised in December. 

The firm booked $13.7 million in non-operating items, most related to the Commute acquisition, as well as a $3.5 million impairment charge against its investment in Junkee on “revised revenue” expectations. 

Net profit after tax for the year fell 32 per cent to $27.2 million.

Shares in oOh!media fell 2.9 per cent to $2.845 in the first 15 minutes of trade on Monday. 

The company said it had been buoyed by revenue at Commute rising 5.0 per cent for the year to $234.8 million as the segment’s integration continues apace. 

“Commute is now our largest division by revenue and its strong performance … demonstrates its significant contribution to enhancing our diversified asset portfolio and supporting our acquisition business case,” Mr Cook said. 

However, road advertising fell 5.0 per cent to $146.6 million during the year thanks to a reduction in spending by the banks and auto industry.


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