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The Kelsey Report® Advisory

Sensis Lays Out 'Sustainable Growth' Plan
Charles Laughlin , 6/12/2003

Issue: Happier Customers Key to Expanding Share of SME Wallet

News: Last week, Sensis Pty. Ltd., Australia's dominant Yellow Pages publisher, staged a half-day event for financial analysts to present its anticipated results for the 2002-2003 financial year ending June 30. More significantly, Sensis, which is 100 percent owned by the Australian telecom Telstra Corp. Ltd., described its plans to achieve sustainable growth in the 6 percent range, with 4 percent growth in print and 25 percent growth online.

Sensis expects to finish the 2002-2003 fiscal year with revenues of 1.2 billion Australian dollars (about US$787 million). That represents a 6.8 percent increase over the 2001-2002 fiscal year and includes print Yellow Pages growth of nearly 4 percent (more than 7 percent in non-metropolitan areas). It also includes White Pages print growth topping 16 percent.

Sensis forecasts year-end 2002-2003 electronic revenues of 66.4 million Australian dollars, a 29 percent increase. Those revenues encompass directories as well as the company's other online businesses, including the CitySearch local portal acquired last year, its Web Works (Web site creation) and MediaSmart (online advertising network) businesses.

New items in the core product have also contributed to growth. The introduction of half and full-page ads in Sensis's larger books, for example, has accounted for between 1 percent and 2 percent of growth. The addition of color advertising in White Pages was worth an additional 0.5 percent. Sensis's White Pages product is a world leader in revenue development, representing about 17 percent of Sensis's 2002-2003 projected revenues.

Sensis's growth plans rely on leveraging three core portfolio businesses: directory advertising, non-directory advertising and information services. The company is also developing a content-management platform that allows information to be collected once and provisioned across multiple media, enabling Sensis to operate all of its businesses at a high margin. And Sensis plans to supplement its efforts to grow organically. It plans to do this with partnerships and acquisitions, including directory acquisitions outside Australia.

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