Seven knocked by weak ad market

22/08/2012 - 08:11

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Seven knocked by weak ad market
Seven West Media chairman Kerry Stokes.

Seven West Media has reported a large rise in its reported profit but pro forma accounts that adjust for last year’s merger of West Australian Newspapers and Seven Media Group show a downturn in the group’s performance.

The Kerry Stokes-chaired company has reported a net profit after tax of $226.9 million, up from $115.1 million.

The profit for the year to June 30 reflected the first 12 months complete trading following WA Newspapers acquisition of Seven Media Group and its renaming as Seven West Media.

Revenue rose to $1.9 billion from $725.7 million.

While headline profit rose, the company’s  earnings per share actually fell to 33.3 cents, down from 36.2 cents, reflecting the impact of large share issues.

An even worse picture was presented by pro forma accounts, which include 12 month contributions by WA Newspaper and Seven Media Group in the prior year.

On this like-for-like basis, revenue fell fractionally while earnings before interest and tax tumbled by 14 per cent to $473.4 million.

Managing director Don Voelte put a positive slant on the results.

"Our businesses are performing well in what has been a challenging past 12 months for all media companies," Mr Voelte said.

"We are building our businesses with a focus on our content that drives our audiences and our ability to deliver revenue, and new forms of delivery of that content.

"We are also focused on greater efficiencies across our business to manage our costs and continue to deliver our market-leading margins."

Seven declared a fully-franked dividend of six cents a share, down from 26 cents a year earlier.

Seven West also announced the appointment of three new directors to its board: Michelle Deaker, David Evans and Ryan Stokes.

Dr Deaker is the managing partner of venture capital firm OneVentures, while Mr Stokes heads Australian Capital Equity and is an executive director of Seven Group Holdings and Consolidated Media.

Mr Evans is managing director of Goldman Sachs JBWere and the founder of investment advisory company Evans and Partners.

Meanwhile, Seven revealed that newly-appointed chief executive Don Voelte would receive fixed remuneration of $2.6 million.

Under his open-ended contract, he has to give three months notice before leaving Seven.

Seven is required to provide one month's notice to terminate his contract.

The company said costs at its TV broadcast business grew 6.7 per cent during 2011/12, while earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) came in at $291 million.

The West Australian and regional newspapers delivered EBIT of $116.2 million, with revenue down 5.2 per cent.

The group's Pacific Magazines business had EBIT of $39.8 million, with circulation revenue falling 1.2 per cent to $177.7 million and total advertising revenue down 11 per cent to $97.7 million.

Seven's digital media business, which includes the Yahoo!7 website, lifted ad revenue 15.7 per cent to $84.6 million and EBIT by 14.7 per cent to $36.6 million.

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