oOh!media slumps again on $6.7m H1 loss

Shares in oOh!media have fallen again on a $6.7 million first-half loss the outdoor advertiser blames on May’s federal election and exceptionally weak market conditions.

The Junkee Media publisher lifted revenue from continuing operations by 5.0 per cent to $304.9 million but higher costs in the six months to June 30 pushed the company to a net loss from a $9.2 million profit a year ago.

The company also booked a $6.9 million impairment against its newly acquired Adshel assets.

Monday’s first-half result follows a disappointing full-year guidance cut last week that sent oOh!media shares down by more than 40 per cent a near four-year low.

The company’s stock fell a further 6.23 per cent to $2.86 by 1020 AEST on Monday and is now down by 46 per cent from $5.26 a year ago.

Chief executive Brendon Cook said the past six months had been disappointing for oOh!media, with the federal election and soft economic conditions weighing heavily on its Road segment revenue.

Mr Cook said the banking and auto market spend was particularly affected during the half.

Advertising market weakness was also to blame for the revision to full-year underlying earnings, which are now forecast to be between $125 million and $135 million for the 12 months to December 31.

The company had previously flagged a range of between $152 million and $162 million.

“This has been a disappointing outcome for us and, from the available data and commentary from other media participants, we believe this to be a temporary but significant event driven predominantly by weaker market conditions,” Mr Cook said.

Stripping out impairments, oOh!media’s half-year profit fell by 94 per cent to $515,000.

The company’s $6.9 million impairment against Adshel reflected mostly termination expenses and a non-cash impairment of a third party technology platform, with final cash-based integration costs to be marginally higher than the $7 million originally stated.

Mr Cook forecast a brighter time ahead and tipped big-name players such as Google to continue to turn to Out Of Home advertising to leverage their digital footprint.

Mr Cook also said no equity raising would be required to stabilise the business, excluding the company’s dividend reinvestment plan.

“The team remains fully focused on the disciplined execution of our strategy to build a data-centric, scalable, multi-format ‘out of home’ business,” Mr Cook said.

“Advertisers continue to increasingly preference out of home as a key category for media spending supporting oOh!’s medium-term growth prospects in this sector.”

The company will maintain an interim dividend of 3.5 cents per share, 30 per cent franked.

AAP

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