The global advertising display and street furniture giant JCDecaux suffered net losses in 2020, a first in the history of the group. And the rebound is long overdue.
Travel restriction measures, at airports, train stations and even subways, have greatly reduced the attractiveness of urban advertising for advertisers who are JCDecaux clients. This is the main reason for the 40% drop in the company’s turnover last year, to 2 billion euros. And the net losses recorded by the group: 605 million euros … The 2020 results are all the more disappointing given that JCDecaux had its best annual financial year in 2019 since its listing. But the health crisis has not spared the company, which will not pay any dividends to its shareholders in 2021, as it did last year.
The crisis also at JCDecaux
Despite this slow motion, JCDecaux was able to keep its head above water: ” Despite this sharp drop, our 2020 operating margin remained positive at 141.6 million euros thanks to strong and rapid adjustments made by our teams », Explained Jean-Charles Decaux, Chairman of the Management Board and Co-CEO. The efforts made by the group to preserve cash flow as well as the cost savings program made it possible to absorb 59% of the drop in turnover. The debt even managed to drop slightly to just over a billion euros.
European vaccination campaign too slow
However, the return to pre-health crisis activity is not planned for this year. In the first quarter, JCDecaux forecasts indicate that the turnover should fall further by 40% in the first quarter, because of a vaccination campaign in Europe which is slow to gain momentum. On the other hand, the Chinese market is in great shape, it represents 20% of the company’s activity. But the continuation of travel restriction measures elsewhere in the world will not make it possible to compensate for the losses suffered in 2020.