Seven West loses $444m on more impairments

Seven West Media has reported a $444.5 million full-year loss after again writing down the value of its TV licences, newspapers and goodwill by millions of dollars.

Seven West, which last week abruptly ended Tim Worner’s six years as chief executive, had already warned of lower full-year underlying earnings because of a softer advertising market and on Tuesday confirmed a 10 per cent fall.

The free-to-air network said revenue for the 12 months to June 30 fell 4.2 per cent, while its bottom line was hit hard by $611 million of one-off items.

James Warburton, who last week stepped into Mr Worner’s shoes with immediate effect, said a tough economic backdrop had hit advertisers.

“We have incredibly strong assets, and our focus moving forward is to speed up the rate of transformation while exploring opportunities for growth in our core and adjacent markets,” Mr Warburton said.

“We will be a hunter and explore M&A opportunities in both traditional media and non-traditional adjacencies that are positive for our shareholders.”

In the meantime, Seven West has flagged more hard times ahead, with FY20 earnings before interest and tax expected to be between $190 million and $200 million.

That’s up to 10.4 per cent lower than FY19’s $212.1 million.

Stripping out the one-off items, underlying profit for the last financial year was down 7.9 per cent at $129.3 million.

Licences, mastheads, goodwill and other impairments, including those of fixed assets, accounted for $542.4 million, with a $16.8 million loss on the sale of Yahoo7 also among the hits.

The impairments come two years after a $436 million reduction in the carrying value of Seven’s television licences helped drag the media group to an even bigger loss.

Mr Warburton, who had a short and ill-fated spell at rival Ten before happier stints in charge of Supercars and APN Outdoor, said he would be aiming to sharpen Seven West’s focus as a sales-led organisation.

“We will revitalise our entertainment programming, creating momentum to engage heartland Australia and enrich the demographic mix, ensuring we are the most relevant and exciting offer to advertisers,” Mr Warburton said.


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