Tag Archives: Fairfax

Fairfax profit rises on one-off gains

Updated February 21, 2013 15:32:33

Media group Fairfax has reported a huge surge in its half-year profit, but says weak demand in the advertising market is still restricting its earnings.

For the six months to the end of December, Fairfax has made $386.3 million.

That was up almost 300 per cent compared to its profit for the same period the year before.

However, the vast bulk of the profit ($312 million of it) came from discontinued operations, making much of it a one-off gain.

In fact, excluding significant one-off gains and losses, the company’s underlying profit fell from $136 million to $83 million.

Revenue was down from $1.18 billion to $1.1 billion, however the publisher’s expenses also fell by around $80 million as it slashed staff and moved to close major printing presses.

The company says its restructure and slimming down of the business contributed to its profit result, with a 10 per cent reduction in staff and a sell-off of some businesses which reduced debt from a around a billion dollars to $200 million.

Fairfax’s chief executive Greg Hywood says the company now has the strongest balance sheet in the industry, but there are more cost savings to be made.

“We are finding smarter ways to work that deliver us better outcomes and save us money,” he said.

“We are taking a fresh look at territories long considered sacred cows and smashing silos that long seemed untouchable. We are pursuing additional structural initiatives and cost savings beyond those currently envisaged.”

The company has cut its fully-franked interim dividend to 1 cent per share from 2 cents per share.

Fairfax shares were down 2.75 per cent to 53 cents by 10:25am (AEDT).

Topics: business-economics-and-finance, company-news, media, australia

First posted February 21, 2013 10:29:55

Singleton takes tiny stake in Fairfax

By online business reporter Michael JandaUpdated December 31, 2012 12:02:47

A filing to the market reveals that businessmen John Singleton and Mark Carnegie have bought a tiny stake in Fairfax.

The two men between them hold about 0.15 per cent of Fairfax after several purchases made in early December by their company Gutenberg Investments.

The share purchases were made for between 47.5 and 48.75 cents a share.

Late last week, Mr Singleton announced his intention to form an alliance with his long-time friend, mining magnate Gina Rinehart, who holds nearly 15 per cent of Fairfax.

Mr Singleton’s move onto Fairfax’s share register follows the company’s rejection of his offer to buy the struggling media company’s radio networks to add to his existing talkback empire.

Fairfax shares had risen 6.3 per cent to 50.5 cents this morning, as investors relished the prospect of further battles for control of the media company.

Topics: business-economics-and-finance, company-news, media, australia

First posted December 31, 2012 11:59:58

Singleton, Rinehart strike Fairfax alliance

Updated December 29, 2012 10:25:06

Media figure and businessman John Singleton will form an alliance with mining magnate Gina Rinehart at Fairfax, after buying a small stake in the company.

In a statement released last night, Mr Singleton announced that his company, Gutenburg Investment, had bought shares in Fairfax because of the board’s decision to deny him the sale of its talk radio assets.

The statement also says he will consult with Mrs Rinehart on matters affecting the company, as the pair have a long friendship, spanning decades.

Mrs Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting holds an almost 15 per cent stake in Fairfax, while Mr Singleton’s share is reportedly less than 1 per cent.

Media analyst Peter Cox says the move should not come as a surprise.

“Singleton was very upset when Fairfax would not sell the radio stations to him which he offered $200 million for, which is probably a lot more than what they would get for the radio station today, so Singleton is now moving in concert if you like with Gina Rinehart to have more effect at Fairfax,” he said.

Mrs Rinehart was denied a seat on Fairfax’s board when she refused to sign a charter of editorial independence earlier this year.

She ramped up her shares in the company before launching her board bid, but then tried to dump a third of her shares in August after the bid failed.

The sale was quickly withdrawn due to a lack of interest.

Mr Singleton has flagged he wants the Fairfax charter reviewed, but insists he has no intention of compromising the editorial integrity of Fairfax journalism.

Topics: media, business-economics-and-finance, company-news, australia

First posted December 29, 2012 08:06:36

Fairfax plans to axe two western newspapers

Updated October 19, 2012 13:07:07

The media giant Fairfax is considering scaling back and closing three of its newspapers in regional New South Wales.

Fairfax is planning to shut The Cobar Age and Warren Advocate which are published weekly.

The media giant says the performance of the papers has deteriorated in recent years and it’s no longer viable to continue publishing them.

Consultation is being held during the next few days with a final decision expected next Tuesday. Fairfax says three people could be affected.

The Mayor of Cobar Lillian Brady says she’s disappointed by the proposal.

She says the loss of any local media in the town is devastating.

‘It’s very important because the Cobar Age has been here long before I came and it’s just been a part of the community. 

“We do have two papers here but, it’s been great that we’ve had two and it’s been such an institution.”

Councillor Brady says while people will still be able to access local news, the competition ensured a broader range of content and fair reporting.

“I’m very disappointed, very disappointed because I just believe the more avenues you have the better the reporting will be.”

The company’s also considering reducing the publishing frequency of the Armidale Express from a tri-weekly to a bi-weekly paper, and cancelling the printing of a TV Guide.

Three people could be affected there.

If the proposal proceeds the changes at the papers will take effect in about three weeks.

Topics: media, community-and-society, cobar-2835, warren-2824

First posted October 19, 2012 11:30:48

Fairfax chief’s pay surges as profits, shares slide

By finance reporter Justine ParkerUpdated October 03, 2012 16:28:32

The Australian Shareholders Association has criticised a surge in pay for the head of Fairfax Media as the company slashes jobs and its share price hits record lows.

Fairfax’s annual report shows its chief executive Greg Hywood’s total pay came in at $2.36 million last financial year, despite the company announcing a $2.7 billion loss for the period.

Mr Hywood’s total remuneration rose from $1.53 million to $2.36 million, although part of the increase was due to last financial year being his first full year as chief executive.

The total package includes salary, unvested shares and bonuses.

Mr Hywood’s remuneration rose despite his decision to voluntarily forgo half his bonus for the year.

Shareholders Association chief executive Vas Kolesnikoff says Mr Hywood is in a tough position at the moment.

“At the same time he is paid quite handsomely so we would expect to see some level of recognition of pay for performance, and performance isn’t fantastic at the moment,” he said.

Mr Kolesnikoff says Mr Hywood and the Fairfax board may face tough questions from shareholders at its annual general meeting on October 24 in Melbourne.

“It’ll be interesting to see going forward how the board responds to Mrs Rinehart and Jack Cowin, certainly from performance,” he said.

“Everybody wants to see performance and we all need to be aware, other than Gina Rinehart losing money, the average Aussie’s also lost money on this as well.”

Shares in Fairfax Media touched record lows today of 39.5 cents.

Topics: business-economics-and-finance, company-news, corporate-governance, media, australia

First posted October 03, 2012 10:17:04

Union demands Fairfax meet printing workers

Updated October 01, 2012 20:32:02

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) has moved a motion demanding Fairfax meet with its printing employees.

Printers at Melbourne’s The Age newspaper stopped work for two hours today, protesting against what they say is Fairfax’s lack of communication with their employees about their future.

It is now more than three months since Fairfax announced that it would close its printing facilities in Melbourne and Sydney.

But nearly 300 workers at those printing plants say they still do not know how much longer they will be in work.

The AMWU’s Leigh Diehm says the company has refused to talk to workers.

“Our members have showed up today to send a clear message to Fairfax,” he said.

“If they don’t want to sit down and talk and if they don’t want to sit down and consult, then we will be back in greater numbers and we’ll be sending further clear messages back to the company to have some discussions.”

Fairfax has announced that about 1,900 jobs across all their operations would go, but Mr Diehm says it is still not clear where those jobs will be cut.

“Fairfax have basically, over a period of months now, just attended meetings to tick a box and say, “we’ve consulted”,” he said.

“The picture is still no clearer from the day that they made the announcement in regards to these 1,900 jobs as to where these 1,900 jobs are actually going from.

“We’ve got members that are wondering where their future lies, what their future holds. And for Fairfax just purely to come.”

Mr Diehm says Fairfax management has now agreed to meet with the union next Monday.

He says Fairfax have put a number of redundancy offers on the table but they have not been suitable.

“None of which have given any clearer picture as to what their plan of attack is – how they’re going to have these redundancies,” he said.

“We’d certainly be calling on some retraining. The reality is we’ve got a heap of members out of these sites that are highly skilled and highly trained, but obviously if they’re not printing newspapers … they’re going to need to be trained in other areas.”

Topics: unions, media, tullamarine-3043, australia

First posted October 01, 2012 15:38:05