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Lamar Advertising workers install a billboard touting LSU baseball and the fans in Baton Rouge. Lamar Advertising Co. acquired a billboard operator based in Arkansas in a deal that closed recently.

Lamar Advertising Co. posted net income of $38.3 million during the first quarter, or 38 cents per share, compared to $40.4 million a year ago, or 40 cents per share.  

The Baton Rouge-based billboard and digital ad company saw its net revenue hit $370.8 million, down from $406.5 million one year before.

The coronavirus pandemic softened advertising demand among its business customers as many nonessential companies were closed by state mandates across the nation but have slowly reopened. Business bookings in March and April for the rest of 2021 surpassed that during the same months in 2019, the company said. 

“The advertising rebound is well underway," said Sean Reilly, chief executive officer of Lamar Advertising. "Both local and national sales activity have accelerated, with digital showing particular strength."

Adjusted funds from operations during first quarter was $116.7 million, compared to $113.3 million one year ago. Lamar operates as a real estate investment trust. Adjusted funds from operations is a closely watched measure in the REIT industry. It takes net income and adds back items such as depreciation and amortization.

The company expects net income per share to be between $2.96 and $3.12 for fiscal 2021.

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