Monday 19 March 2018

Analysts welcome changes to APN board

Independent News & Media has a 31.6pc share holding in APN. Photo: Bloomberg News
Independent News & Media has a 31.6pc share holding in APN. Photo: Bloomberg News

Maeve Dineen Business editor

AUSTRALIAN company APN News & Media has appointed Brett Chenoweth as its new chief executive.

He will replace Brendan Hopkins, who will retire at the end of the year.

APN, in which Independent News & Media (INM) has a 31.6pc share holding, said Mr Chenowethwill take up the role on January 1.

In addition to the retirement of Mr Hopkins, APN said yesterday that Donal Buggy and Cameron O'Reilly will retire from the APN board on December 31.

"These board changes ensure that APN has a smaller board comprising a majority of independent non-executive directors with a strong blend of media and other business experience to support Brett's strategy for APN in a constantly evolving media environment," APN chairman Gavin O'Reilly said.

INM will continue to have board involvement in APN through Gavin O'Reilly (INM CEO and APN chairman) and Vincent Crowley (INM COO and APN director and former CEO).

INM also said its 31.6pc shareholding in APN is being deconsolidated with the reduction in the number of directors on APN's board.

Therefore, INM will no longer account for APN as a subsidiary undertaking after December 31. Instead, it will be accounted for as an associate under- taking.

The changes will have no impact on INM's shareholding in APN, which remains at 31.6pc, nor on the group's net profit or earnings per share.

The changes also honour APN's commitment at its last AGM to develop its board progressively and reflect the interests of all shareholders.

INM said it remains committed to APN and that with the deconsolidation, INM's structure and reporting will be simplified and more transparent.

"A deconsolidation will be positive from an INM perspective -- the group will become cleaner, it will be easier to assess the factors driving growth, and there will no longer be a need to differentiate between recourse and non-recourse debt," Simon McGrotty of Davy stockbrokers said in a note yesterday.

He added that the announcement was not unexpected, as APN's board had made a commitment to shareholders to make itself more independent and align itself with the combined code.

Killian Murphy of Goodbody stockbrokers said that, given INM's strong cash generation, he viewed it as a positive move for the company as it will increase transparency for shareholders.

Irish Independent

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