INM's Australian affiliate meets market target with A$19m profit
APN News and Media posted a net profit after tax and before exceptionals of A$19m (€16m), for the first six months to June 30, 2012. The results, which were announced yesterday, were in line with guidance and market consensus.
Independent News & Media has a 29.5pc stake in the Australian-based company.
The media group significantly reduced its net debt by A$168m over the half-year period. The company's radio and outdoor businesses delivered a strong performance, with digital revenue up 81pc. Australian Radio Network revenue was up 8pc and Adshel EBITA was up 42pc.
The company, which owns radio stations and newspapers in Australia and New Zealand, reported a non-cash impairment charge of A$485m, associated with APN's New Zealand publishing assets.
The charge follows an extensive review of carrying values by the APN board of directors and reflects the impact of "prevailing" industry conditions.
The company said it continues to make operational improvements within its publishing business in New Zealand and remains confident of its ongoing strong contribution to the group.
The charges follow similar moves from rivals News Corp and Fairfax Media.
Revenue was down 6pc to A$477m and Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortisation was down 12pc to A$75m.
"It has been a tough first half for our publishing businesses, particularly in New Zealand," chief executive officer Brett Chenoweth said in a statement yesterday.
"While it is clearly a difficult result, our newspapers have remained very profitable and relevant despite difficult advertising markets and structural challenges.
"Newspapers continue to set the local and national news agenda each day and this content is now reaching a broader audience through our digital platforms.
"We are evolving our business model to capitalise on the shifting audiences. We are well placed to do this from within our existing businesses and also through new digital plays that leverage our core assets and market reach," he added.
Mr Chenoweth said APN's radio and outdoor businesses delivered a "robust" performance, with two achieving stand- out results.
"The Australian Radio Network increased revenue well ahead of the market, improved market share and had the best audience ratings in its target audience in more than five years. Adshel's earnings jumped 42pc as it made impressive share gains in both Australia and New Zealand," he said.
The company will convert the 'New Zealand Herald' to a "compact" format from broadsheet on September 10.
The company announced an interim dividend of 1.5 cents, of which 0.5 cents is franked payable September 26, 2012.