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Seven outlook brightens

Television broadcaster Seven Network Ltd is expected to report a slightly improved half year net profit before abnormals on Monday but program and acquisitions costs could hurt the bottom line, analysts said. Analysts expect Seven to report a pre-abnormals net of between $A75 million and $A81 million for the six months to December 31, compared with a record $A78.01 million a year earlier. They said the result should be boosted by strong advertising sales in the first half. But higher one-off and operating costs could eat into the bottom line profit to cause a lower overall result. Analysts said the results should show few signs of the company’s advertising problems that affected its 1994-95 second half profit. The problems, which resulted from the setting of below-market advertising rates, eventually resulted in the departure of the company’s previous management and a change in control of the group. Perth-based entrepreneur Kerry Stokes emerged with a 20 percent stake in Seven after an on-market buying spree in 1995. ANZ McCaughan analysts Nola Hodgson said she expects Seven to report a first half net profit of $A81 million.

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