APN to sell off New Zealand titles following strategic review
APN News & Media said it has concluded a strategic review of its New Zealand operations with a decision to sell off its publishing businesses in Christchurch, Oamaru and Wellington.
The company, part-owned by Irish Independent owner Independent News & Media (INM), said yesterday it has had talks with several media companies.
"Our primary objective for this review was to maximise shareholder value," said APN chief executive Brett Chenoweth.
"We have many of the best media assets in the country."
APN's New Zealand titles have made substantial progress thanks to the company's dual strategy of rejuvenation and cost reduction to stabilise earnings, Mr Chenoweth added.
The 'New Zealand Herald' was relaunched as a compact in September and the decision has "been positively received by advertisers and readers", APN said.
It said full-year earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation would be between AU$150m (€121m) and $155m (€125m).
Davy stockbrokers said the results were mixed. "Overall, while trading is more difficult, the group's plans to sell some of its New Zealand assets mean that the market will react favourably to this statement," analyst Simon McGrotty said.
The publisher added that its main advertising markets were weaker in the second half. Cost-cutting initiatives will generate $25m of savings in 2012, with another $25m reduction expected in 2013, it added.
APN's Australian Radio Network and Adshel outdoor advertising company performed well ahead of market expectations. GrabOne, which sells special offers on behalf of other firms, also continues to outperform.
"In a year of tough advertising markets, Australian Radio Network, Adshel and GrabOne have consistently outperformed the market" Mr Chenoweth said.
"In contrast, our publishing businesses have felt the full force of the market downturn in both Australia and New Zealand."