Yell shares plummet after top execs announce departure

Steve Dinneen
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SHARES in embattled Yell tumbled by almost a fifth yesterday as news of the imminent departure of two of its top men gave investors the jitters.

The chief executive and chief financial officer will quit the struggling yellow-pages publisher after preventing a debt crisis from escalating into insolvency.

Chief executive John Condron, who will leave the firm after 30 years service, and finance officer John Davis both said they will leave the firm within a year. Yell said it had cut net debt by £1.1bn over its fiscal year to £3.1bn, or about 4.9 times Ebitda.

It identified an extra £60m in savings for the current year but said it would continue to invest in its online business as well as revamping its print directories. It said the seasonally weak next quarter would be similar to the one just past in which sales fell 15 per cent. The firm is struggling to fight off online rivals including Google.

It said it expects a long-term revenue decline to slow this quarter, but gave no profit forecasts as confidence among its core small-business customers remained fragile.

Its shares closed 22 per cent lower at 36.76p yesterday.