07/08/2009 - 08:43

WAN profit drops 21% on ad slump

07/08/2009 - 08:43

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West Australian Newspapers Holdings' full-year profit declined 20.6 per cent as advertising revenue was hit by the economic slowdown.

WAN profit drops 21% on ad slump

West Australian Newspapers Holdings' full-year profit declined 20.6 per cent as advertising revenue was hit by the economic slowdown.

Reported net profit fell to $87.2 million for the 12 months to June 30 compared with $109.9 million in the prior corresponding period, the Perth-based company said in a statement today.

The publisher and radio station operator forecast in June a normalised net profit between $93 million and $98 million for 2008/09, as it announced it was cutting full-time equivalent staff numbers by 8.6 per cent across the group.

Revenue fell 11.3 per cent to $418.6 million.

WAN declared a final dividend of 10 cents, taking the full-year distribution to 33 cents compared with 53 cents the year before.

"Although we continue to experience difficult trading conditions we feel fortunate to be in WA," WAN chief executive Chris Wharton said in the statement.

"We are beginning to see the benefit of new projects announced in the resource sector.

"They promise prosperity in this state, even during the course of this recession."

Mr Wharton said the company had been able to halt a long-term circulation slide in the March quarter.

"A new editor was appointed in March and the long term slide in circulation was halted in the March quarter, when The West recorded its first across the board circulation increase in eight years.

"I am confident, based on internal estimates, that the good circulation story will be sustained in the next audit period," he said.

Circulation of the company's masthead, The West Australian, increased 0.3 per cent in the June quarter to 343,677 copies for the Saturday edition and gained 1.3 per cent to 197,508 copies for the weekday edition.

The paper's advertising revenue slumped 15.8 per cent to $236.8 million.

Expenses at The West Australian were reduced by 4.7 per cent to $179.7 million.

The company appointed its new editor for The West Australian in March, after Seven Network chairman Kerry Stokes took over as chairman also of WAN.

WAN had earlier forecast a 2008/09 net profit of $93-$98 million.

The publisher posted a net profit of $109.9 million in 2007/08.

 

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