Topics:  apn, apn news & media, brett chenoweth, nz herald

APN posts mid-year loss

APN News & Media, the publisher of this website, tripled its first-half loss after writing down the value of its New Zealand publishing assets unit by A$485 million as part of an ongoing review.

The net loss widened to $319.4 million, or 49.9 cents per share, in the six months ended June 30 from a loss of A$98.3 million, or 16.1 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue from continuing operations rose 1% to A$405.5 million.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation fell 12% to A$74.9 million.

APN warned its second-half profit may be impacted by deteriorating publishing revenues on both sides of the Tasman, and the partial sale of its outdoor advertising unit.

The bulk of the impairment charge was on New Zealand mastheads, with kiwi metros written down by A$370.3 million, NZ regionals by A$83.7 million, and New Zealand magazines by A$31 million.

"It has been a tough first half for our publishing businesses, particularly in New Zealand," chief executive Brett Chenoweth said.

"Our publishing divisions have undertaken substantial work to reduce our cost base and to rejuvenate our products to adapt to a changing media context. We have accelerated these reforms."

APN's board declared a partially franked first-half dividend of 1.5 cents per share, down from 5 cents a year earlier.

At its May annual meeting, the media group told shareholders it had appointed Deutsche Bank to undertake a strategic review of the New Zealand media assets after receiving approaches from parties interested to buy.

The review is still under way, APN said today.

APN's Australian regional media business reported a 7% fall in first-half sales to A$125.2 million, for a 9% fall in ebitda to A$21.12 million, while the NZ media group saw a 3% fall in revenue to A$141 million with a 20% decline in earnings to A$21.7 million.

Australian Radio Network lifted sales 8% to A$68.1 million with an 11% boost to ebitda of A$23.8 million, while the Radio Network unit in New Zealand, whose stable includes NewstalkZB and 91ZM, increased sales 3% to A$41.7 million while ebitda fell 6% to A$6.5million.

APN Outdoor sales fell 26% to A$89.8 million with a 29% fall in earnings to A$11.5 million, reflecting the group's decision to sell half of the advertising business to Quadrant Private Equity.



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