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Print profits plummet for APN in half yearly report

Thursday, 18 August 2005
By Print 21 Online Article

APN attributes New Zealand’s capacity problems to ‘virtually all web printers increasing their asset base’ in response to positive trading conditions, resulting in what it describes as ‘short term pressure’ on margins. The revenue earned by the division during the first half of 2005 declined 10 per cent from the previous year to $44.8 million, while earnings before tax dropped 27 per cent to $2.9 million. In response, APN Print is shifting to what it describes as a “full service model”, indicating that internal activity will represent an increased proportion of its production.

APN also confirms its new newspaper centre in Yandina on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast , home to the region’s first $35 million Regioman press, is on track to be operational by the middle of next year. The site is targeted to deliver 4,000,000 newspapers a week within the first six months.

While the Yandina newspaper centre is receiving all the attention, APN is also planning on rolling out a $A14 million prepress upgrade across all its Australian regional centres.

APN turned in a good performance during the first half of 2005, with its 23 regional daily newspapers and over 100 non-daily titles trading well in Australia and New Zealand. Excluding new titles, publishing revenue increased by eight per cent and earnings before tax by 16 per cent.

Advertising revenue from publishing is also strong, rising 2.6 per cent and 5.7 per cent in Australia and New Zealand respectively. Revenue from employment advertising in particular performed well, growing by 36 per cent in Australia and 30 per cent in Australia and New Zealand.

The company overall posted a record after-tax profit of $66.1 million for the first half of 2005, a rise of 17 per cent on the previous year. While print performance may have been lacklustre, APN chief executive Brendan Hopkins claims the company’s overall solid results are the result of its strength in newspapers, radio, and outdoor advertising.

“The Board of APN continues to believe that, providing current trading conditions continue, the objective of double digit profit growth for the year as a whole will be achieved,” says Hopkins.

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