* Sells Publicitas to Germany's Aurelius
* 80 percent of sales to now come from digital businesses
* Shares jump 28 percent
ZURICH, April 2 Shares in PubliGroupe
shot up almost 30 percent on Wednesday after the Swiss marketing
company sold its loss-making media sales businesss Publicitas to
Germany's Aurelius and said it will focus on growing
its digital offerings.
Aurelius has agreed to pay a low double-digit million Swiss
franc sum for Publicitas and will take on its 860 staff as well
as all contractual obligations with media providers, advertisers
and agencies, PubliGroupe said in a statement on Wednesday.
The disposal marks PubliGroupe's exit from its historic
media sales business with over 80 percent of sales now coming
from its digital products and services, which include online
directory local.ch and marketing network Zanox.
By 0815 GMT shares in PubliGroupe were trading up 25 percent
at 131.7 francs, making them the biggest gainer among Swiss
stocks. Earlier they hit a one-year high.
"Media Sales generated losses in recent years and
increasingly appeared to be a millstone around PubliGroupe's
neck," ZKB analyst Daniel Buerki said in a note.
For 2014, PubliGroupe is expecting to post consolidated net
sales of around 150 million Swiss francs ($170 million) and
operating profit in the range of 20 million. Last year it eked
out an operating profit of 0.8 million francs.
PubliGroupe said it will book a one-off charge of 30-40
million francs for the disposal. The transaction, which is
subject to approval by shareholders and competition authorities,
is expected to close in the second quarter.
($1 = 0.8834 Swiss Francs)
(Reporting by Caroline Copley; Editing by Noah Barkin)