Outdoor ads specialist Ocean Outdoor said it’s optimistic about a recovery in the global ads sector despite having reported a £184 million pre-tax loss in its full year results.
Ocean, which operates major billboard sites including high profile locations such as the Piccadilly Lights in London and others in major cities across the UK, also reported that revenue for the last year fell to £86.1m versus £104m the year before.
The London-listed firm posted a one-off impairment charge of £142m which it said was directly related to the global coronavirus pandemic.
When the pandemic broke last year and the world went into lockdown, few people were moving about, which meant that no one was passing Ocean’s many outdoor billboards.
Rather than letting them sit unused and idle, Ocean offered them to small and medium sized companies to use for free. They were also put to work offering thanks and encouragement to the nation’s front line workers.
“Throughout the period Ocean Outdoor has continued to invest in its platforms and products to prepare for the impending recovery”, said Tim Bleakley, Ocean’s CEO.
“With a strong balance sheet and growth opportunities in every area of our operations, our focus is now on the speed of that recovery as restrictions are lifted.
“We have never stood still. We have not only protected our core businesses across all territories, but developed or won incremental assets and contracts to accelerate growth, strengthening Ocean’s network proposition in key areas such as content partnerships, new technology and brand experiences to maximise every opportunity for advertisers as they return.
“Momentum is building and the investments we have made means Ocean is exceptionally well placed to reach and engage with highly receptive, liberated outdoor audiences at scale.
“We have a strong underlying business, we are well set for the recovery and we are already engaged in the fight back.”
Ocean’s shares, which trade in US dollars were almost unchanged at $8 on Tuesday in London following its full year numbers.
The shares have nearly doubled over the last year since plummeting at the start of the pandemic.