Nine loses $574.9m after writedowns

Nine Entertainment has reported a more than half a billion annual net loss after a challenging year when advertising earnings slumped and the coronavirus pandemic took hold.

The bottom line net loss of $574.9 million for 2019/20, compared to a profit of $233.9 million in the previous year, was on revenue of $2.2 billion.

Nine, which operates Nine Network, streaming service Stan and capital city mastheads The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and Australian Financial Review, blamed the disappointing result on impairment charges and goodwill writedowns totalling $655 million.

Most of that was due to writedowns on its investment in real estate digital platform Domain and metro free-to-air television operation.

But CEO Hugh Marks was relatively upbeat, saying Nine had been sheltered from the worst of the market and economic impact of COVID-19 due to the cost-cutting, jobs cuts and other strategic decisions taken over the past five years.

“Our focus on the growth platforms in the market – primarily digitally based and video-centric – has paid off,” he said in a statement on Thursday.

“We are confident that this current environment will only make us stronger.”

Stan has an active 2.2 million subscribers.

Excluding impairments and goodwill write-downs, net profit for the year was $155.9 million, down 22 per cent.

Nine will pay a final dividend of seven cents a share.

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