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Charles Laughlin
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May 27, 2003


New Kelsey Group report chronicles a year of transformation and keen attention from the investment community for once-sleepy Yellow Pages industry.

Princeton, NJ (May 27, 2003) – The global Yellow Pages industry, which grew 1.98 percent in 2002, remains tremendously profitable, generating an estimated $10 billion in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) on $25.4 billion in revenues, a 38 percent industry margin, according to The Kelsey Group. The firm anticipates similar performance in 2003, with revenues growing by 2 percent to roughly U.S. $25.9 billion. These findings are chronicled in a new 448-page report released this week entitled, "Global Yellow Pages 2003: The Kelsey Group's Outlook and Forecast" (Global YP 2003).

"In the span of little more than a year, the global Yellow Pages business has been transformed from a sleepy afterthought that provided needed cash but little glamour to the world's major telecommunications companies to a darling of the financial community," said Charles Laughlin, vice president and program director, The Kelsey Group. "The transformation of the industry from one rooted in telecommunications to one that is independent and highly competitive will continue at least through the decade."

The stable cash flow generated by Yellow Pages has spawned bidding wars around the world as directory subsidiaries have been put up for sale by telecoms now desperate for cash. In 2002, some of the world's leading telecommunications companies – Sprint, Qwest, Bell Canada, KPN and others – sold off their directory publishing units in a mass wave of asset sales.

Yet directory publishers face tremendous challenges, particularly in the most developed markets: the United States, Canada, Western Europe and Australia. These include declining usage of printed Yellow Pages, a mixed record of success with online Yellow Pages, emerging "search" products that may supplant online Yellow Page directories, and the explosion of marketing alternatives for small businesses.

"Without investment and innovation, global publishers will find their top lines, and increasingly their bottom lines, under threat from a growing array of alternatives," explained Bobbi Loy-Luster, senior analyst of The Kelsey Group and one of the report's principal authors.

About Global YP 2003
Global YP 2003 is designed as a strategic planning tool for directory publishers, investors, industry suppliers and Yellow Pages agencies that need a complete understanding of the state of the industry, its key players and the direction the business is moving.

This in-depth study is the result of six months of research by The Kelsey Group's team of analysts, and includes detailed profiles of 35 world markets and more than 70 directory publishing companies worldwide. The report's profiles capture key metrics about the companies and markets profiled, including revenues, growth rates, titles and distribution, employees, size of sales force, online and wireless products, key executives, advertisers, key developments and challenges, and online and wireless strategies.

Global YP 2003 is currently available for purchase. For more information, visit

About The Kelsey Group
The Kelsey Group is the leading provider of strategic research and analysis, data and competitive metrics on Yellow Pages, electronic directories, small-business advertising and local search. Beginning in 1986, the company has built a reputation as the leading analyst firm covering the directory publishing community, providing advisory (The Kelsey Report® and Interactive Local Media), publishing (Global Yellow Pages™ and Local Media Journal™), consulting (more than 300 individual assignments) and conference services (60 events).

For more information contact:

Eileen Pacheco
(781) 556-1026
[email protected]

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