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The Kelsey Report® Advisory

SEAT PG's Vision: A 'Multi-Specialist' Publisher
Bobbi Loy-Luster,Charles Laughlin , 12/11/2003

Issue: SEAT's Strategic Plan Focused on Customer, Directories

News: Italy's SEAT Pagine Gialle SpA is just a few months into its new life as a fully independent directory publisher. This means it must now demonstrate how it will be a better company away from the clutches of its former telecom parent. SEAT's new CEO Luca Majocchi unveiled this new strategy for a new corporate framework in a meeting late last month with European financial analysts. The new strategy involved a stronger focus on leveraging all of its directory-related products into a more unified value proposition for its advertisers. This represents a departure from the far-flung, trend-chasing, product-silo approach of old.

The sale of SEAT by Telecom Italia, announced in June, involved selling the directory and directory-related operations of SEAT PG to a consortium of private equity buyers. The deal was valued at 5.65 billion euros (approximately US$6.6 billion). The buyers were led by BC Partners, and included CVC Capital Partners Ltd., Investitori Associati and Permira.

SEAT PG reported directory publishing revenues of nearly 1.19 billion euros (US$1.28 billion) in 2002, an increase of 3.5 percent over 2001. According to The Kelsey Group's "Global Yellow Pages� 2003" Report, SEAT publishes 310 directories in Italy, and 173 in the United Kingdom, through its Thomson Directories subsidiary.

SEAT told investors at the recent strategy briefing that it expects to generate total group revenue growth of between 5 percent and 6 percent through 2006, with EBITDA growing at 7 percent and 8 percent for the same period. This is in line with The Kelsey Group's estimates for SEAT, included in our recent 2002-2008 revenue forecast (see TKR White Paper #03-06, "Global Yellow Pages Forecast, 2002-2008," 11/21/03). In its key Italian directory market, SEAT expects to grow revenues by between 4.5 percent and 5.5 percent from 2003-2006, driven by improved core product growth and continuing double-digit growth in its voice and Internet products.

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