New boss for directories firm Yell as faltering sales hit stock

YELLOW-pages publisher Yell yesterday named ex-Cisco manager Michael Pocock as its new chief executive and reported an accelerated slide in quarterly sales, sending its shares down 20 per cent.

Yell, whose CEO and last chief financial officer both announced their departure in May, said its customer base of small businesses had not yet regained economic confidence, resulting in a second-quarter sales decline of 12.1 per cent.

For the first half, revenue fell 11.2 per cent at constant exchange rates to £896m, and adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation fell 12.2 per cent to £265m.

“Our revenues are directly related to the confidence small businesses feel, and small businesses continue to see little evidence of economic recovery,” outgoing chief executive John Condron said in a statement.

The company said it would still meet full-year profit expectations by cutting costs. Yell shares fell 3.19p to close at 12.37p – a 20 per cent loss.

“Yell remains our least preferred stock in the sector and has to be seen as a high risk, speculative investment,” Numis analysts wrote in a note.

Yell has been struggling as consumers increasingly use Google and other search engines to find details of local businesses instead of using Yellow Pages directories.