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JCDecaux, the outdoor advertising company, on Wednesday announced its first dividend as full-year net profits rose 25 per cent boosted by strong revenues from its transport division.
Shares in the company jumped 9 per cent to €23.32 on the results, the highest level since its initial public offering in 2001.
The French company, which supplies and maintains bus shelters, public lavatories and other “street furniture”, selling advertising space on them, said it expected organic revenue growth for 2006 to exceed 5 per cent, thanks to China, the US and the rest of Asia-Pacific.
The company has been expanding its presence in Asia as sales of billboard advertising decline in Europe. After several acquisitions last year the company is now the market leader in China, and on Wednesday said the country will represent more than 10 per cent of group revenues in 2006.
The company penetrated further into Asia this week, venturing into India’s immature outdoor advertising industry by winning a 15-year contract to operate nearly 200 bus shelters in up-market areas of New Delhi.
“The strong increase in earnings and the first-time dividend are the result of a sound operational performance in 2005. Once again, our organic revenue growth exceeded the growth of the global advertising market,” said Jean-François Decaux, chairman.
Net income rose to €195.3m from €156.2m a year ago, as revenues rose 7.2 per cent to €1.75bn.
Earnings before interest and tax rose 4.1 per cent to €299m.
The company said it would pay its first dividend of €0.40 per share, adding that it expected to pay a dividend on a yearly basis from 2006.