Ocean celebrates successful first year since re-listing, has potential £160m war chest

Ocean Outdoor is celebrating a successful first year since re-listing on the London stock market with billings growing by 13.7 per cent to nearly £88m, revenue up 15.2 per cent to £62.2m and gross profit growth of 13.8 per cent to £15.2m.

Crucially the Out of Home operator, which gets over 90 per cent of its money from digital OOH, has £160m cash on its balance sheet, which makes more acquisitions likely.

This year Ocean announced it’s buying two OOH businesses in the Netherlands for £45m and last year bought Forrest Media in Scotland for £32m. Ocean is now valued at nearly double the £200m Ocelot Partners paid for it in 2018.

CEO Tim Bleakley says: “This was a significant year for Ocean and these results reflect the actions taken throughout the year to grow, both organically and acquisitively, driving the continued strong performance of our business. The successes achieved this year in developing and expanding our network, as well as our entry into the European market, are a testament to the strength of our team and the growing potential for DOOH.”

Ocean was reported to be a potential buyer of Transport for London underground operator Exterion before it was bought by Global Radio for an estimated £400m. Global had already bought Primesight and Outdoor Plus. But the tube’s ad prospects have deteriorated somewhat with delays to the big Crossrail development.

It remains to be seen if, from Ocean’s point of view, Exterion was a missed opportunity or a narrow escape.

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