The French search and directory company Solocal Groupe generated 1.7 percent organic digital growth in 2013, a tepid performance driving largely by a brutal online display advertising market. Today’s 2013 earnings announcement revealed Solocal’s total group revenues fell by 5.8 percent, to 999 million euros. The company hopes to improve on that performance in 2014, if only slightly. Solocal executives are guiding for a revenue decline of between 3 percent and 6 percent this year.
Like it’s peer company Eniro, which announced its results last week, Solocal generates a large majority of its revenues from digital sources (63.3 percent). Print declined by 16.4 percent organically in 2013, which is in the range Solocal predicted. The company is banking on a stable predictable print decline combined with improved digital growth eventually to return the business to positive growth.
Solocal is still in the midst of a digital transformation project, which it calls Digital 2015, aimed at shaping the company’s products, processes and culture into a true digital first company. Solocal has argued that its focus on transformation and on cleaning up its balance sheet have had a short term impact on performance. The assumption is that longer-term the investment in transformation will offset any short term lag in performance.
Note: Later today we will post additional details from Solocal’s 2013 earnings call, including comments from CEO Jean-Pierre Remy.