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