French railways to sell majority share in ad division

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PARIS--SNCF, France's state-owned railway company, plans to sella majority share in France Rail Publicite, a subsidiary responsible forall advertising on trains and in train stations nationwide.

The sale of France Rail Publicite is likely to attract leading billboardmanagement groups, according to SNCF officials. The company, which has amonopoly on advertising to millions of captive viewers, had 1998 revenueof $105 million.

The partial privatization will offer France Rail Publicite new funds fordeveloping its core businesses at SNCF stations and aboard its trains, aswell as help it expand into the lucrative local transport advertising mar-ket.

France Rail Publicite is currently negotiating the acquisition of FranceBus Publicite, which controls ad placement in 80 bus networks nationwideand had 1998 revenue of $22 million. Last year, the company acquired rightsto bus and metro station advertising in the second French city of Lyon.

Copyright October 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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