Fairfax profits fall 41%

Fairfax’s traditional media assets are under continuing pressure, an update to the stock exchange revealed today.

According to the six monthly update to the ASX, Fairfax Metro – the division which includes both the print and online operations of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age – saw profits down by a third on the same period a year before.

According to the update, EBITDA profits for Metro Media was down from $102.5m to $69.4m, a drop of 32.3%.

Metro ad revenue was down by 10% to $442m while circulation revenue was down 5% to $95m. However, online revenue was up by 17% to $127m.

EBITDA profts on Fairfax’s printing operations were down by 20%. NZ profits were down by 21%.

The radio operation – which saw Fairfax attempt to sell its metropolitan stations before removing them from the market after failing to get a decent price – saw profits fall by 38.5% to $9.6m.

The only division to grow profits was NZ website Trade Me which Fairfax has partially floated.

Overall, the company said that excluding significant items, its half yearly profits stood at $296m, down nearly 15%. Among the significant items was a further $22m writedown of the value of the company’s mastheads.

After significant items the company’s net profits were down 41% to $96.7m.

Based on the company’s promise to cut even more costs out of the business, its share price rose slightly.



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