The annual turnover figures of Bollore Group, which were released on 28 February, have confirmed that the French behemoth continues to face a few problems in its diverse assets base, as its truly global business shrinks in some key areas.
Group revenues dropped 7% to €10bn on a reported basis in 2016, with annual sales falling 5% year-on-year across its continuing operations (constant scope) on a constant currency basis. In the fourth quarter, total sales fell 4% on a reported basis, and 2% on a constant scope and constant currency basis.
Its core transport and logistics unit, which generated about 55% of group revenues last year, turned over €5.4bn, down 10% against 2015 reported figures.
At constant scope and currency, the top-line fell 7%, hit by lower freight rates, which were only partly offset by higher volumes. In the fourth quarter, sales fell at a steeper pace than during the year, with turnover plunging to €1.4bn, down 11% on a reported basis.
Bollore specifically noted that sales in Africa contracted by 6% year-on-year, having experienced “slight growth in the port terminals business (which was) offset by the drop already announced in the logistics and warehousing business” in Gabon, Congo, Angola and Cameroon.
Meanwhile, the 12% decline in its oil logistics business, whose annual revenues fell to €1.96bn from €2.23bn one year earlier, was due to lower prices for oil products and volumes. However, the division recorded a meaningful rebound in the fourth quarter, with revenues up 10% to €556m from €504m on a comparable quarterly basis year-on-year.
One bright spot was represented by its communications unit, which includes Havas, as well as other media and telecom activities. Annual sales there grew 3% to €2.3bn, boosted by positive trends in Europe and North America. “This also includes the revenue of Wifirst (telecoms), up significantly, and of Direct Matin, which continues to grow, with 900,000 copies distributed daily,” the group said.
In the fourth quarter, reported revenues in the entire communications unit grew 2% to €665m.
Finally, its smaller industrial activities (electricity storage and solutions) saw annual revenues rise 17% to €310m, boosted by growth in dedicated terminals and the steady expansion of car-sharing services, “which now has a fleet of 4,900 electric vehicles and 1,500 stations equipped with 7,800 charging terminals,” it said.
The number of premium yearly subscribers of its car-sharing services in Italy, France and the US grew 11% year-on-year to 118,000.
Its stock has rallied hard in recent months, but remains highly volatile.
Source: Transport Intelligence, March 2, 2017
Author: Alessandro Pasetti