HT&E group revenue up 21% to $109.9m as ARN revenue jumps 22%

Here, There & Everywhere (HT&E) has continued its recovery in the first half of the 2021 calendar year, reporting a 21% increase in group revenue to reach $109.9 million.

Net profit after tax (NPAT) rose to $16.3 million, up from $3.6 million during the prior corresponding period, while underlying EBITDA rose 55% to $30.4 million.

HT&E H1 2021 Results [click to enlarge]

Chairman Hamish McLennan gave update on net cash and debt facilities during the results presentation. “The business has performed strongly, delivering materially higher revenues, with the balance sheet providing significant optionality with net cash of over $122.4 million at 30 June 2021, and debt facilities with undrawn limits of $251 million,” he said.

“With advertising markets strengthening in Australia and Hong Kong, HT&E’s results have given us the confidence to invest in strengthening our core broadcast radio and digital audio business to accelerate growth. We see opportunities to build real scale across multi-platform content creation expanding our digital and data capabilities.

“The Australian media sector is expected to consolidate further and our current capital structure puts HT&E in a real position of strength to explore opportunities to become a multi-platform media organisation of scale, with digital content and commercialisation at its core.

HT&E recapped the impact of the May announcement that it would sell a 25% stake in mobile messaging software group Soprano Design. It is expected that HT&E will receive $6.2 million cash up-front (before transaction costs) and a shareholding of approximately 5.8% in the combined Link/Soprano business.

“The sale of Soprano is progressing well and we expect a binding Share Sale Agreement to be executed shortly. This will deliver significant shareholder value and provide fire power to accelerate our growth agenda,” McLennan added.

After declaring no final dividend in 2020, HT&E has declared an interim dividend of $0.35 per share fully franked for the half-year ending 30 June, payable on 15 September, 2021.

In its update on Australian Radio Network (ARN), HT&E reported that revenues across the business grew 22% to $98.5 million. Radio revenue grew 19%, with digital revenue climbing 149% to $5.5 million.

Total costs were up 13% on a like-for-like basis, with people costs up 5% and operating costs up 13%. EBIDTA grew 57% on the corresponding prior reporting period.

ARN H1 2021 Results [click to enlarge]

HT&E CEO and managing director, Ciaran Davis, said: “What ARN’s network has achieved in terms of ratings performance is nothing short of exceptional and confirms our strategy of investing in the right talent, both on and off-air, to drive performance.

“We are indisputably the dominant player in Australian radio, holding the #1 network position in Australia for thirteen consecutive surveys. We are also a leader in digital audio, making strategic investments in original content across our platforms to generate market-leading opportunities for our commercial partners.

ARN reported almost 2.4 million unique users listened to commercial radio via mobile, smartphone or PC/tablet each week, a 19% increase. Meanwhile, there were 7.7 million listening hours of radio across all platforms including iHeartRadio.

Weekly podcast consumption grew 53% year-on-year, and Davis said HT&E will continue its investment in digital audio.

“As Australia’s #1 podcast publisher, we are delivering consistent growth for the iHeartPodcast Network Australia across our diverse content offering. The impressive numbers tell the story, with year-on-year, national total downloads on the iHeartPodcast Network Australia for June up 58%,” he said.

“We will continue to invest to deliver scale, multi-platform content, digital and data capabilities and in technology that makes it easier to plan and book with our assets.”

HT&E also gave a trading update, revealing that ARN revenues grew 19% for the month of July despite ongoing lockdowns in several key markets. August bookings have eased slightly, but forward bookings for the rest of the year are already tracking well ahead of the same time last year.

HT&E has a current market capitalisation of $445.06 million and a daily share price of $1.61.


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