MESSAGE FROM Arnaud Lagardère
| || |
The Lagardère group is forging ahead with its transformation and we are delivering on our commitments, as demonstrated by our solid operating and financial performance in 2015, especially the sharp improvement in profitability.
During the year, we focused on two key areas:
Moreover, we are continuing to invest in our more resilient activities such as Lagardère Publishing, with the recent acquisition of Perseus Books in the United States.
Two of our divisions – Lagardère Services and Lagardère Unlimited – were renamed during the year, becoming respectively Lagardère Travel Retail and Lagardère Sports and Entertainment. Having enhanced their visibility, these two activities are pressing ahead with their strategic transformations.
The Group's business model is now based on publishing, producing, broadcasting and distributing content, through our strong brands, to the audiences they generate in their various networks.
With the Group's long-term future in mind, I have decided, with the agreement of the Supervisory Board, to reaffirm my confidence in Pierre Leroy and Thierry Funck-Brentano, who have been re appointed as Co-Managing Partners of Lagardère SCA. In the coming weeks, Bruno Balaire, former partner of international audit and advisory firm Mazars, will be taking up the position of Chief Financial Officer, replacing Dominique D’Hinnin, whom I thank for his many years of service to the Group.
In 2015, we saw like-for-like sales grow by 3% and recurring operating profit jump 10.5% to €378 million, with the operating margin improving by one-half of a percentage point to 5.3%. Free cash flow advanced very significantly to €274 million.
As a result of these good performances, we are proposing a dividend of €1.30 per share, in line with our policy of providing a return for shareholders and thanking them for their long-term support.
Lastly, I would like to pay tribute to our entire workforce, whose talent, professionalism and commitment allow us to continue to record good performances year after year.
The group's valuesThe Group has clear values that determine its personality. Lagardère's creativity, boldness and independence have helped to create a modern, innovative media group that's in touch with its times.
The group's activities
The Lagardère group is a global leader in content publishing, production, broadcasting and distribution, whose powerful brands leverage its virtual and physical networks to attract and enjoy qualified audiences.
The Group's business model relies on creating a lasting and exclusive relationship between the content it offers and its customers.
It is structured around four business lines.
CSR at LagardèreResponding to the increasing demands of regulators, aligning its CSR approach with its development strategy and stepping up its dialogue with stakeholders.