Yell doubles profits despite sales drop

 
City A.M. Reporter
Directories publisher Yell Group’s first-half profit has more than doubled thanks to a significant fall in interest charges as a result of lower debt.

The company, which was slow to adapt to the shift to online advertising, said its sales fell 12 per cent to £787.2m as growth in digital services only partly offset the decline in printed and digital directories.

Yell, which expects to be in full compliance with its covenants for the rest of the year, said it had started talks with its lenders regarding the loan terms.

It posted first half pretax profits of £69.2m, compared with £33.2m a year ago.

Despite the impact of lower fixed costs and improved margins, the decline in revenue led to a 10 per cent fall in ebitda to £231.4m.

Net debt was £2.63bn, down five per cent from six months ago.

Yell shares, which have lost nearly half their value over the last six months, closed virtually unchanged at 3.63p, valuing the firm at £86m

The firm announced its digital turnaround plan over the summer, with a new emphasis on providing digital services to local markets through its Yell Connect platform.