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Macquarie Media profits up 21% thanks to licence fee waiver

Macquarie Media Limited’s annual revenue has plateaued but profit after tax is up 21%, thanks to the Turnbull government’s one-off relief measure, which resulted in a 100% licence fee cut for FY17.

Despite the four-month absence of Alan Jones, the radio network – which boasts stations including 2GB and 3AW – reported total revenue and other income of $131.114m for FY17, a 2% decline from FY16.

Profit after tax rose from $14.274m to $17.323m – allowing for a $3.5m licence fee saving.

Jones was away for four months of FY17

Reported EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) was up 17% year on year, at $29.450m.

Redundancy and restructuring costs were up to $962,000 from $370,000 in FY16 and national metro market radio revenues were down for the first time in several years.

In a statement on the ASX, Macquarie Media pointed out the FY17 earnings were double the combined earnings of Fairfax Radio Network and Macquarie Radio Network, prior to the merging of the two companies in April 2015.

Macquarie Media’s FY17 EBITDA is 97% higher, and profit after tax 132% higher than the sum of the separately audited companies for FY14.

The latest results exclude earnings of Satellite Music Australia, which was sold for proceeds of $5.9m on July 31, and recorded $0.9m in EBITDA for FY17.

On January 19 2017, the group also completed the sale of Radio 2CH for proceeds of $5.560m and a $0.266m loss on sale was recognised.

Macquarie Media said it has maintained its revenue despite Jones’ absence, marketing conditions, and the launch of its new format – Talking Lifestyle – across 3 stations.

It noted it had also regained control of Perth’s sales team in the second half of the year.

Macquarie Media said its focus areas for upcoming financial years would be a continued focus on driving returns on its core radio operations, maintaining strong market presence and a lead in the Sydney and Melbourne ratings, and engaging with emerging distribution channels.

Currently, Macquarie Media is predominantly owned by Fairfax Media (55%), with the remaining 45% owned by shareholders of Macquarie Radio’s former network.

John Singleton owned 71% of the old Macquarie, giving him a 32% holding of the new company.

The results come two months after Singleton and adviser Mark Carnegie launched a bid to take full ownership of the network. 

Fairfax told the ASX at the time it was not seeking offers to realise its investment in Macquarie Media.

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