On 19 October 2018, the CEO of APN Outdoor Group Limited (ASX: APO) Mr. James Warburton announced his retirement from the role of CEO following the completion of JCDecaux’s acquisition. Following this news, JCDecaux announced that Mr. Steve O’Connor who is the current CEO of JCDecaux Australia, will be taking the charge of leadership of the merged JC Decaux and APN Outdoor businesses in the region.
The appointment of Mr. Steve O’Connor and the acquisition of APN outdoor is planned to be effective from 31 October 2018. Mr. Steve O’Connor expressed his excitement for expanding his role and he is expecting that this acquisition will result in increased investment in product innovation and technology, enabling the company to further roll out its digitization strategy more widely.
As per Mr. Jean François Decaux who is the current co-chief executive, Mr. O'Connor was well placed to run the combined business and he also said that JCDecaux has a long and rich history in the Australian market, ever since it entered after winning contracts to supply a number of Sydney Councils architecturally designed street furniture in preparation for the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000. He further added that APN Outdoor’s existing network comprising billboard, transit and airport advertising will complement and enhance JCDecaux’s existing footprint of premium assets as they look to further expand their digital footprint across the region.
On 15 October 2018, APN Outdoor Group Limited announced that APN Outdoor shareholders have approved the scheme of arrangement under which JCDecaux SA will acquire 100 percent issued share capital of APN Outdoor.
In the first half of FY 2018, the company successfully established the refocused sales centric approach to the APO business. The revenue of the company increased by 4 percent from $162.3 million in 1H 2017 to $168.4 million in 1H 2018, this has resulted a 7% growth in the underlying EBITDA of the company. The underlying EBITDA of the company increased from $37.2 million 1H 2017 to $39.7 million In 1H 2018. The Net debt of the company increased by 2 percent from $95.9 million 1H 2017 to $98.2 million in 1H 2018. In the first half of FY2018, the company has also won several new contracts and it has successfully renewed the existing contracts. According to the company’s guidance report the company is expecting underlying EBITDA to be in between $92 million and $96 million in FY 2018. The overhead growth of FY2018 is expected to increase by 6% to 8%. The company is expecting capital expenditure to be in between $30 million to $35 million in FY2018 which reflects capex requirement of new tender wins. In August 2018, the company declared dividend of 7.0 cents per share, fully franked which was paid on 21 September 2018.
On 18 October 2018, APN Outdoor Group Limited announced that its securities will be suspended from quotation at the close of 18 October 2018. In the past six months APN Outdoor’s share prices increased by 28.41 percent from $5.210 to $6.690 as on 18 October 2018.
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