2019 a transformation year for UK’s Ocean Outdoor
By M4G Bureau - February 19, 2020
The year marked significant rise in Ocean Outdoor revenues and earnings, with EBITDA increasing by 10.5% to £33.6 million on a proforma basis
2019 was truly a transformational year for Ocean Outdoor. The Company has executed on its acquisition strategy, taking Ocean into six new countries (the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Germany) and creating one of the leading DOOH players in Northern Europe. This expansion has led to a significant rise in the company’s revenues and earnings, with EBITDA increasing by 10.5% to £33.6 million on a proforma basis.
The Board has stated its satisfaction over Ocean Outdoor Netherlands’ development since the collective integration of the three businesses (Ngage Media, Interbest and Beyond Outdoor), brought together earlier in 2019. In November 2019, Ocean Netherlands agreed to acquire the digital advertising masts portfolio owned and operated by Clear Channel Netherlands. The deal became effective on 1 January 2020 and has boosted Ocean Netherlands’ roadside presence, bringing the total number of city, retail and roadside screens operated in the Netherlands to 283.
After completing the exciting acquisition of Visual Art in September 2019, Ocean announced in November 2019 its £25 million offer for AdCityMedia, a Sweden based independent, premium Out-of-Home and digital screen tech operator focused on large format digital and high-end city centre locations across Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland. The offer was a success and closed with 99.41% acceptances allowing the Group to commence the integration. The combined entities, referred to as Ocean Nordics, will create the leading DOOH operator in the region, as well as creating commercial synergies and economies of scale which will help to unlock value and enhance future growth and profitability. The Visual Art business has performed slightly behind plan but the Board is confident of the combination and for Ocean Nordics to perform in-line with the rest of the Group in 2020.
Whilst Ocean has made excellent progress with its acquisition strategy, the established UK business has continued to expand organically, with major new developments that include city contracts won for Glasgow and Southampton and the rollout of 128 roadside digital screens across Birmingham. In London, Ocean is upgrading 40 out of home advertising screens across Canary Wharf, London’s global financial centre and luxury shopping and leisure destination.
At the same time, Ocean’s UK network has invested wider in its broadcast led content strategy, hosting a series of world class events through the course of the year, including Jaguar Land Rover’s sponsorship of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, DS Automobiles association with Formula E championship highlights and a partnership with ITV to broadcast Rugby World Cup games. Ocean UK concluded the year with an exclusive showing of the trailer for the 25thJames Bond movie, No Time To Die, on Landsec’s iconic Piccadilly Lights - the first time any film trailer has be shown on the world-famous digital screen.
Commenting on Ocean’s performance, CEO Tim Bleakley said: “In the last 12 months we completed five acquisitions and expanded our presence to seven countries, entering key strategic markets and creating a market leading DOOH offering in both the Netherlands and Sweden, where we are focussed on successfully implementing our Digital Cities for Digital Citizens philosophy. Our expanded geographical presence allows us to build a combination of premium digital assets and quality audience delivery networks across northern Europe that will meet the needs of both customers and advertisers.
“Whilst we remain focused on expanding our network, creativity and innovation are also core to our growth and we continue to invest in new and engaging ways of using full motion DOOH to bring exclusives to audiences and a powerful broadcast platform for brands to exploit. Our recent Neuroscience based study and YouGov research has provided a greater, quantifiable understanding of the significant impact of the use of innovative content on full motion DOOH screens, underlining the value of our platform.
“As we progress into 2020 we are excited to work alongside the team at AdCityMedia to fully integrate the latest addition into the Ocean Group and continue to develop our business in the UK and the rest of Europe.”
1 Pro-forma basis assumes Ocean Outdoor Limited and all subsidiaries in the Group had been owned from 1 January 2018. These figures include the Visual Art Media Sales business as well as Ad City Media business. They exclude earnings from the Visual Art Digital Signage joint venture. For comparative purposes, the proforma figures are at constant currency using the average exchange rates for 2018, excluding IFRS 16 accounting and no longer add back listing costs, £892k (2018: £897k).
2 These exclude the Nordic acquisitions and are the business units on which 2019 revenue guidance was issued.