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APN posts 9.6% profit growth in NZ media business

Friday 25th February 2011

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Australian-based APN News & Media said its New Zealand media business had a solid year in 2010 with revenue growth of 1.7% and growth in earnings before interest and tax of 9.6% in local currency terms.

The growth in profit is 7.3% in reported Australian dollar terms. The company reported a A$71.3 million (NZ$96 million) profit in the year to December 31 in its New Zealand media business, which includes The New Zealand Herald newspaper, on revenue of A$320.1 million.

A breakdown showed a 2.2% rise in revenue in the second half from a year ago in local currency terms and a 0.8% fall in reported Australian dollar terms. Earnings before interest and tax in the second half of A$37.3 million were up 5.4% in local currency terms and 2.5% in Australian dollars.

The New Zealand Radio business reported a A$12.8 million profit, which is down 2.7% on the previous year in local currency terms and down 4.6% in Australian dollar terms. The company said the New Zealand radio market returned to solid growth in the December half and The Radio Network (NZ) has gained market share in recent months. The Radio Network (NZ) posted a A$8.3 million profit in the second half, up 10.1% in local currency terms.

"Investment in new structures and programming are beginning to produce good returns," the company said.

It said The New Zealand Herald ended the year with gains in circulation and delivering seven year highs in readership.

"Together with its online presence, the Herald brand now reaches 1.3 million New Zealanders each week," the company said.

APN was a launch partner with Apple for the introduction of the iPad in New Zealand. The New Zealand Herald application has been downloaded by more than 33,000 users and is regarded as the industry leader in its category, the company said.

Herald on Sunday advertising was up 16% year-on-year and the newspaper experienced strong readership growth.

Commenting on current performance, the company said its performance in New Zealand in the year-to-date was broadly in line with the prior period apart from retail advertising, which remains challenging and was down 11% in January.

The radio business in New Zealand has continued momentum build in late 2010 in the new year to be ahead of the prior year in both revenue and earnings.



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