Fairfax reports profit of $224.4m on back of asset sales

Fairfax logoPublisher Fairfax Media has posted a $224.4m profit for the 2014 financial year, well up on 2013 result which saw it record a loss of $16.4m on the back of further writedowns and its staff redundancy program.

The result was also boosted by the sale of online travel business Stayz, with significant items after tax totalling $66.7m. Company revenue was down three per cent $1.972m while the EBIDTA profit – earnings before interest, depreciation, taxation and amortisation – was up 1.8 per cent $306.4m.

Underlying EBITDA – the best like-for-like comparison with previous years – was $312.7m, down on last year’s $315.7m.

“Transforming a business as diverse as Fairfax was always going to be multi-year journey,” said Greg Hywood, CEO of Fairfax in a statement. “Our achievements to date are reflected in the the stable operating earnings performance announced today, a result that has been achieved despite continued structural change in our markets.”

Fairfax reduced its net debt by $222m, had net cash of $68m at the year end and will pay a fully franked 2 cent dividend with the earning per share 6.6 cents, up 79.6 per cent.

“We are in a net cash position and we’ve strong grown earnings per share. Today’s result underlines the ability of Fairfax to deal with the enormous structural changes impacting upon the industry,” he said.

Fairfax also gave their first insight into the revenues generated from the launch of the paywalls last year with the company reporting digital subscription revenues of $24m, up $19.2m from last year across The Age, Sydney Morning Herald and Australian Financial Review.

The company also acknowledged that advertising revenues remained “challenged” with print revenue declining 23.5 per cent, while digital advertising increased 5.6 per cent. Metro print ad revenue was $280.7m.

Stayz was sold in December for about $220m and InvestSmart was sold in August 2013 for $7m.

Nic Christensen


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