Fairfax Media flags up US$760 million in writedowns
LEADING Australian publisher Fairfax Media said yesterday it would post nearly A$1 billion (US$760 million) in writedowns in the year to July, while it announced the creation of a new reporting segment for its lucrative online real estate division.
Like its global peers, the group, which owns The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age newspapers, has had to slash jobs and costs owing to falling circulation and advertising revenue.
Most of the A$989 million ($750 million) pre-tax impairment charges for the 2016 financial year come from major Australian metropolitan newspapers, accounting for A484.9 million. Impairments for community media amounted to A$408.8 million.
Fairfax said its property listings division Domain Group would form a separate reporting segment. Chief executive Greg Hywood said the adjustments "reflect the market realities that the metro business is facing", adding that the media divisions in the rural, regional and New Zealand divisions were also experiencing challenges.
But with speculation swirling that the Domain separation could eventually lead to the group selling the real estate division or newspapers, Mr Hywood said the unit "remains an integral and growing part of Fairfax".
Fairfax, with newspaper, radio and digital interests, is the main rival to News Limited, Rupert Murdoch's Australian empire, which is also suffering from falling revenues. -
Copies of the Australian Financial Review and The Sydney Morning Herald published by Fairfax Media on sale in Sydney yesterday.