Ocean Outdoor on acquisition drive as first-half revenues increase 16%

Ocean: acquired Sweden-based Visual Art
Ocean: acquired Sweden-based Visual Art

Results are in line with expectations.

Ocean Outdoor has reported a 16% boost in revenues to £41.9m in the first half of 2019 as it announced the acquisition of Swedish outdoor specialist Visual Art for €63m (£56m).

The company saw billings increase to £50.8m for the six months ending 30 June, with digital accounting for 85% of the total. Gross profit was £17m and, while it made a loss before tax of £3.96m, adjusted earnings before tax and other deductions were up 21.7% to £11m.

Ocean confirmed the Visual Art deal was structured across two transactions – Ocean is buying Visual Art's out-of-home media assets for €63m in cash, while it is partnering the Swedish company's operators for a 50/50 signage joint venture called Visual Art Technologies, which follows a €15m investment by Ocean.

Reflecting on the past six months, Ocean pointed to highlights including its acquisition of Ngage Media and Interbest for £45m combined, adding 163 screens to its portfolio.

In March, Ocean said it was planning to go on an acquisition spree while announcing a 15% revenue boost for its first full-year earnings report since going public. In May, the company said it anticipated single-digit growth for its full-year 2019 results and said today that "based on the development pipeline and the market outlook", its forecast stands.

Tim Bleakley, Ocean's chief executive, said: "It has been an excellent first half, with the group delivering good levels of organic growth. We are particularly pleased with the early progress and contribution of Interbest, Ngage Media and Beyond Outdoor, which have given us a significant share of the Dutch market. The acquisitions are performing well and we have realised a number of synergies.

"The integration of Forrest Media into the Ocean group and the continued focus on our 'digital cities for digital citizens' philosophy has led to revenue and profit increasing double digit. We continue to trade in line with expectations and are extremely excited for the future of the business in the UK and overseas."

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