The French search and directory company PagesJaunes Groupe has launched a new corporate brand along with its 2012 earnings announcement. The company is now called Solocal Group, an obvious play on SoLoMo (social, local, mobile).
The new corporate brand coincides with an initiative called Digital 2015, designed to accelerate the company’s transformation from a traditional to a digital company. The initiative will focus on accelerating online growth with new products and offers, improving the performance of its digital media properties and changing the internal culture to be more flexible and digitally focused.
It appears the Solocal will be the corporate brand but PagesJaunes will remain as a consumer brand, for the time being at least. PagesJaunes has historically been a strong brand in France, Solocal’s largest market. The company also has operations in Luxembourg and Spain.
The company also announced its 2012 earnings, showing steady progress toward transforming the business not only from print to digital but from a directory and search company to one that offers a wide range of services to local businesses. Solocal sees mobile as key to its future growth. Mobile revenues grew 150 percent in 2012 to 45 million euros, or about 7 percent of online revenues.
For the full year 2012, PagesJaunes generated total revenues of 1,066 million euros, a 3.2 percent decline. Online revenues 623 million euros or 58 percent of total revenue. Online grew by 8.3 percent while print declined by 15.1 percent to 417 million euros. The print decline accelerated in 2012. In 2011, print fell by 9.2 percent groupwide.
The 2012 results show margins are under some pressure, with the overall gross margin declining from 44.8 percent to 44.2 percent. Print margins fell from 45.7 percent to 45.0 percent and online margins dropped from 44.8 percent to 44.0 percent. This pattern is common in global directory companies, as competition increases and organizations rely increasingly on lower margin products for growth.
Overall, PagesJaunes’s results benchmark favorably against its global peers, primarily because the company has put itself in a position where it can more easily sustain print declines, which are likely to continue to accelerate. The Digital 2015 initiative is an indication that the company believes there is more it needs to do, and perhaps more urgency is required, to complete its transformation.