UK Yellow Pages hopeful of tackling American competition

Yellow Pages firm Yell in the UK raised hopes today that it will be able to fend off strong competition in its United States market.

Yellow Pages firm Yell in the UK raised hopes today that it will be able to fend off strong competition in its United States market.

The current quarter is expected be tough for the group, but Yell said its efforts to improve products, sales training and the value of its offering should give it an edge in the second half of this financial year.

The update reassured investors after a warning in April about the threat of increased competition in the US caused Yell shares to dive.

The stock rose 2% today as the Reading-based company also reported first quarter results in line with market expectations. Revenues were ahead 18.6% to £441.1m (€658m) in the three months to June 30, while underlying earnings improved 21.1% to £143.9m (€213m).

Chief executive John Condron said the company had made a vigorous start to the year, adding that the integration of new Spanish business Yell Publicidad was going well.

He said: “While trading in the first quarter has been demanding, particularly in the US, we are confident looking forward that our actions to address competition in the US market are beginning to take effect for directories publishing in the second half of the year.”

The company will get a boost next year when it gets the all clear from regulators to raise prices in line with inflation. The current inflation minus 6% price control – effectively forcing Yell to cut its prices –will remain in force until March 2008.

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