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APN unveils loss as print exit looms

AAP logoAAP 25/08/2016

APN News and Media has reported a $256.9 million half year loss, driven almost entirely by the traditional print industry it is in the process of exiting.

The company's demerged New Zealand unit and the regional Australian business it is selling to News Corp accounted for $249.3 million of the losses, with underlying earnings from APN's remaining advertising and radio businesses rising seven per cent to $35.9 million.

"APN has delivered a solid result with higher earnings in a competitive media market," APN chairman Peter Cosgrove said.

"Most importantly, we have moved a long way towards transforming APN into a radio and outdoor media company, which are both growth sectors in the media industry in Australia."

APN's demerged NZME business is hoping for permission from New Zealand's competition watchdog to merge with Fairfax New Zealand, while shareholders will vote on the $36.6 million sale of Australian Regional Media to Rupert Murdoch's News Corp at the company's annual general meeting on September 16.

"With a successful sale of ARM, the company will have zero exposure to traditional publishing assets and 100 per cent exposure to growth media assets with good cash flow profiles," chief executive Ciaran Davis said.

"This is a game changer for APN and our strategic priorities for APN are clear: we are going to focus our energy and investments on those areas of the business that will deliver the greatest shareholder returns."

Revenue from continuing operations - which includes Australian Radio Network and trans-Tasman outdoor advertising business Adshel - for the six months to June 30 was flat at $129.1 million.

APN said it eliminated the risk of reduced revenue from its radio business by signing presenters Kyle and Jackie O to a five-year contract.

Shares in APN dropped 19 cents, or 4.8 per cent, to $3.76.

APN ADDS UP

* Net loss $256.9m v $7.5m profit in 2014/15

* Revenue down 0.2pct to $129.1m

* No interim dividend

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