Australia's Fairfax Media posts $408 million loss

AP News
Posted: Aug 25, 2011 10:59 PM
Australia's Fairfax Media posts $408 million loss

Fairfax Media Ltd., publisher of hundreds of newspapers in Australia and New Zealand, Friday reported a $408 million annual loss after writing down the value of its publications amid a challenging environment for media companies.

Fairfax said its Australian dollars 391 million ($408 million) net loss for the 12 months ended June 30 reflected an AU$651 million writedown of the book value of its newspapers and other assets.

Such writedowns typically reflect that a company has had to lower its expectations of the earnings that the assets will generate. The publisher also had restructuring costs of AU$24 million.

Newspapers around the world have suffered declining readership and advertising revenue amid tough economic times and competition from the Internet.

Fairfax chief executive Greg Hywood said the company was dealing with the challenges of a "prolonged cyclical downturn" and aggressively responding to structural changes in the media sector.

He said the vast majority of the impairment and restructuring charges, which he described as "substantial," were non-cash in nature and had no impact on the operating strength or debt levels of the company.

Annual revenue fell 0.7 percent to AU$2.47 billion.

Fairfax owns more than 300 newspapers, 50 Web sites and 15 radio stations.

In Australia, it publishes The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian Financial Review, among others. New Zealand mastheads include The Dominion Post and The Press.