Rural Press' half year result | radioinfo

Rural Press' half year result

Friday 21 February, 2003

Rural Press Limited has announced its half year profit result which shows an increase in profits and an improvement in the performance of the company’s radio division.

Highlights of the first half were:

 Net profit increased by 23.7 per cent to $34,100,000, after tax and minorities.

 Revenue increased by 5.6 per cent to $239,400,000.

 Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) increased by 21.3 per cent to $55,800,000.

The company's Radio Division earned Gross Revenue of $3.3 million, compared with $2.9 million for the same period last year. Radio is only 1% of the company's operations, while Regional Publishing makes up 59% of the business. Rural Press has recently signalled an intention to expand its radio business.

Rural Press Chairman, John B. Fairfax said the result as “very pleasing, particularly given the local and international business conditions during the period.” Despite the impact of severe drought, the group's “geographic and sector diversity enabled it to produce a solid result.”

The main contributor in the period came from the group's general publishing, particularly through growth in national advertising revenues and volumes. Advertising in the real estate and motor vehicles categories was ahead of both last year and internal targets.

The group recently announced the move to 100 per cent ownership of Star Broadcasting Network. “This will enhance the company's long term strategy of once again developing a radio broadcasting network in Australia,” said Fairfax.

Looking forward, Fairfax said “the continuation of drought conditions in eastern Australia and the international political tensions created uncertain trading conditions for the second half, but notwithstanding, the Board was confident of full year profit growth.”

Directors have declared an interim dividend of 7.6 cents per ordinary share, and 8.36 cents per preferred shares, a 38% rise in per share dividends on an increased share capital. .

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