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R.H. Donnelley posted its first-half results today. While ad sales are clearly trending negative, the company was able to report modest revenue and EBITDA growth. Ad sales, however, are the best indicator of how the business is performing.

The following are some highlights from this morning’s earnings call.

  • RHD posted a 6.7 percent drop in advertising sales for the first half of 2008 to $1.396 billion, which the directory publisher attributed to the overall weakness of the U.S. economy and the toll it has taken on cash-strapped small-business owners.
  • The company once again revised its outlook downward for 2008, calling for a drop in ad sales of 7 percent to 8 percent, compared with the “mid-single-digit” declines it projected in May. RHD executives said the revised guidance reflects the view that the next two quarters will look a lot like Q2.
  • Despite its drop in ad sales, RHD saw modest increases in both revenues and EBITDA. Net revenues for the first half inched up 0.8 percent to $1.34 billion, and EBITDA grew 2.9 percent to $698.9 million.

The Kelsey Report will soon issue a detailed write-up of RHD’s first-half results.

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