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Publishing pushes strong results at Rural Press

Thursday, 01 September 2005
By Print 21 Online Article

Rural Press posted the strong results in a year that saw it bring online considerable production and press technology upgrades at production facilities across Australia. Additional capacity was added to a number of sites including Canberra, North Richmond, Port Macquarie, Ballarat, Launceston, Esperance and Whyalla. A greenfield site was also commissioned at Mandurah in WA to replace the nearby press at Collie.

Revenue from Rural’s publishing and printing operations grew by 12.1 per cent to $525 million, while earnings before tax jumped 19.5 per cent to $156.2 million. Key contributors to performance in the metropolitan and regional publications were increases in advertising and paid circulation, with advertising volumes reaching all-time highs despite of a slump in the property sector.

John Fairfax, chairman at Rural Press, said the board was particularly pleased with the result. “The seven per cent advertising volume growth in Australia, added to the nine per cent increase in the previous year, was a positive reflection on all management and staff.”

The company’s agricultural publications consolidated the recovery of the previous year, posting record trading with the weekly publications also securing increases in both advertising and circulation volumes. The year also saw a strategy of growth pursued with acquisitions of the Moree Champion, Goondiwindi Argus, Mudgee Weekly, Devonport Times, Hepburn Shire Advocate and the Senior Post.

The overall results for Rural Press showed a record profit after tax and outside equity interests of $112.8 million, an increase of 29.6 per cent over last year’s $87.1 million in profits. Excluding a one-off tax gain of $7.1 million, the company’s net profit increased by 21.4 per cent to $105.7 million.

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