APN cuts jobs, moves papers to compact
APN News & Media has announced a A$370 million (NZ$479.6m) write-down in the value of its metropolitan mastheads including the New Zealand Herald, and now plans to make all of its regional newspapers "compact" and cut another 100 jobs.
The write-down forms part of a A$485m impairment of its New Zealand publishing assets, which sent the NZX and ASX-listed company's bottom line tumbling to a $319m loss for the first half of the year.
The move to the smaller-sized tabloid format for its flagship newspaper had already been set down for September, but now the company says it will shift all of its titles to compact and morning delivery by the first quarter of next year.
Costs will be further reduced with 100 lay-offs in the New Zealand publishing business in 2012, adding to the 400 redundancies which have been made in the past three years.
APN chief executive Brett Chenoweth said it had been a "tough first half for publishing businesses" and its businesses had accelerated reforms designed to reduce APN's cost base and "rejuvenate" its products.
The company has reported revenues were 6 per cent lower for the half, down to $477m, and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were down 12 per cent to $75m.
New Zealand media revenues were down 3 per cent and EBITDA fell 23 per cent in local currency terms and The Radio Network's EBITDA was down 10 per cent on slightly higher revenues.
The APN Outdoor advertising segment's revenues also fell 26 per cent and EBITDA was down 29 per cent, although that result reflected a new 50-50 joint venture with Quadrant Private Equity.
Removing the "exceptional" impairments, APN posted a net profit after tax of $19m - down $3m on the same half last year.
The company said it had reduced its net debt by $168m.
In addition to the NZ Herald, APN owns The Bay of Plenty Times, Hawke's Bay Today, the Christchurch Star and the Horowhenua Chronicle among other regional publications in New Zealand.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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