CBS Outdoor's profits crumble in final quarter of 2009

LONDON - Outdoor media owner CBS Outdoor's profits were hit hard in the fourth quarter, with a 97% year-on-year drop in global operating income to $1m (£650,000), leading to a $96.9m operating loss for 2009.

CBS Outdoor: Virgin Media London Underground campaign
CBS Outdoor: Virgin Media London Underground campaign

Global revenue fell 8% to $483.7m in the fourth quarter, reflecting a "soft worldwide advertising marketplace".

CBS does not split out the United Kingdom's figures in its results but revenues in Europe and Asia at CBS Outdoor were $183.3m between October and December, down 8% compared with the same period in 2008 and down 15% in constant currency terms.

Global revenues during the full year of 2009 were $1.72bn, a drop of 21% from $2.17bn in 2008. However, in constant currency terms outdoor revenues were down 17% from 2008.

In a statement CBS Outdoor said the decline in revenues during 2009 was due to the soft worldwide ad marketplace and the unfavourable impact of foreign exchange rate changes.

Annual revenue for CBS Outdoor in Europe and Asia was $609.8m, down 27% from revenues of $838.6m during 2008 but down 20% in constant currency terms.

In its results CBS said that lower revenues meant certain transit contracts were operating at their minimum guarantee levels, reducing operating margins in the fourth quarter.

CBS said 2009's revenue decline was partially offset by lower employee-related costs resulting from restructuring and cost saving initiatives.

The International division of CBS Outdoor has gone through a number of changes in the last year. In January ex-Toyota marketing chief Mike Moran was appointed as managing director of its UK business.

Tim Bleakley, former managing director of sales and marketing, had been responsible for many of Moran's duties before he left CBS Outdoor in October 2009 without a job to go to.

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