Radio boosts APN half-year profit

LAURA WALTERS AND AAP
Last updated 14:10 20/08/2014

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APN's New Zealand media business suffered a drop in earnings because of soft market conditions, despite an overall positive half-year result for the trans-Tasman company.

APN News & Media, which owns The New Zealand Herald, said sales revenue for New Zealand media was down 13 per cent to A$135.6 million (NZ$149.8m) for the first half of the financial year to June 30 compared with the same period the previous year.

Operating profit for the New Zealand media arm dropped 13 per cent to A$22.7m.

The company's result was affected by the sale of its South Island and Wellington newspapers in April last year and the sale of several magazine titles to Bauer in February, APN said.

Advertising agency business in New Zealand was also challenging during the six-month period, the company said.

However, local retail advertising showed improvement.

APN and Fairfax Media entered into an arrangement to provide Fairfax Media with printing services at APN's facility in Ellerslie, Auckland.

This month, the company launched a digital business-for-sale and real estate listings service.

APN's New Zealand radio business, The Radio Network, which includes stations ZM, The Hits, Radio Hauraki and Newstalk ZB, lifted its revenue 6 per cent to A$56.9m during the six months.

The revenue increase was largely from direct sales, and operating profit was up 2 per cent to A$10.1m for The Radio Network.

Daily deal site GrabOne posted a 3 per cent drop in revenue to A$9m and an operating profit of A$1.8m, down 16 per cent.

APN said the result reflected challenges facing GrabOne and other e-commerce businesses.

APN News & Media lifted its overall half-year profit 77 per cent to $22.6m, largely thanks to radio acquisitions.

Revenue from continuing operations across all of its trans-Tasman businesses for the six months was up 3 per cent to A$405.9m.

APN said it had achieved strong revenue in its radio assets, while revenues declined in publishing.

The company bought full control of its Australian Radio Network and New Zealand's The Radio Network in February.

Chief executive Michael Miller said the advertising market remained volatile, and agency revenues were soft in the early part of the second half of the calendar year.

Group earnings were slightly ahead of where they were at the same time a year ago, he said.

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