Fair­fax Me­dia books loss

The Myanmar Times - - International | Business -

AUS­TRALIAN pub­lisher Fair­fax Me­dia re­ported a loss of close to A$900 mil­lion (US$692 mil­lion) yes­ter­day but re­mained up­beat on signs that its dig­i­tal and non-print busi­nesses were per­form­ing strongly and would turn things around.

Fair­fax – which owns The Syd­ney Morn­ing Herald, The Age and The Aus­tralian Fi­nan­cial Re­view – booked a net loss af­ter tax of Aus$893.5 mil­lion for the year to June 30.

This com­pared to a net profit of more than A$80 mil­lion in the pre­vi­ous cor­re­spond­ing pe­riod.

The me­dia giant, like its in­ter­na­tional peers, has for years been bat­tling de­clin­ing ad­ver­tis­ing and rev­enues, par­tic­u­larly in tra­di­tional print di­vi­sions.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Greg Hy­wood struck a pos­i­tive note de­spite the loss, say­ing his com­pany’s push to­ward dig­i­tal was suc­ceed­ing, with star per­former the real es­tate-fo­cused Do­main Group re­port­ing a 33 per­cent jump in rev­enue.

“Dig­i­tal and non-print earn­ings now con­sti­tute more than 40pc of Fair­fax’s EBITDA [un­der­ly­ing or op­er­at­ing profit],” Mr Hy­wood said.

“On cur­rent trends, next year this will be closer to 60pc, re­flect­ing the con­tin­ued growth in dig­i­tal and non­print earn­ings.”

The com­pany’s share price fell af­ter the an­nounce­ment, drop­ping 5.03pc to 94 Aus­tralian cents in midday trade in Syd­ney.

To­tal rev­enue slipped 2pc for the pe­riod, while un­der­ly­ing profit came in at A132.5 mil­lion, a 7.6pc de­cline.

Ad­ver­tis­ing rev­enue in the metro me­dia divi­sion dropped 15pc.

Fair­fax, the main ri­val in Aus­tralia to Ru­pert Mur­doch’s News Corp, has shed thou­sands of staff and re­struc­tured its op­er­a­tions in re­cent years to fo­cus more on its dig­i­tal op­er­a­tions.

Fair­fax last week said it would book nearly A$1 bil­lion in pre-tax im­pair­ment charges for the 2016 fi­nan­cial year, with a siz­able chunk from ma­jor Aus­tralian met­ro­pol­i­tan news­pa­pers.

Photo: EPA

Fair­fax Me­dia is con­fi­dent that its dig­i­tal busi­ness will de­liver.

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