HT&E profits fall on a softer radio market and after the sale of Adshel

By Chris Pash | 14 August 2019

Statutory profit fell by half to $13.3 million at HT&E in the half year to June following the sale of out of home business Adshel to oOh!Media.

Revenue was down 45% to $130.9 million as the company re-set itself as a radio and audio business. 

However, net profit after tax from continuing operations, and before exceptional items, was up 34% to $18.1 million.

Revenue from continuing operations fell 4% to $130.9 million, partly driven by a softer radio market in Australia. 

ARN revenue fell 3.8% to $115 million. 

The company says the Australian radio market deteriorated post the Federal election and this has continued into the third quarter.

"Short bookings suggest the market could be down mid-single percent in the quarter," the company says. "Recent improvement in briefing activity is being observed for possible Q4 bookings."

Exceptional costs included $4.8 million related to ARN team restructuring, the sale of Adshel in 2018, and the decision to close Gfinity eSports Australia.

The company declared a fully franked interim dividend of four cents a share.  

“HT&E delivered a good profit result for the half particularly given conditions in the Australian metro radio market were challenging during the first quarter," says HT&E Chairman, Hamish McLennan.

Radio sector revenue was down 3.1% in the first quarter and 2.4% in the first half.

“We are first and foremost a radio and audio business since selling Adshel and over the last six months have spent a huge amount of time focusing on the objective of creating Australia’s most complete and compelling audio offering," he says.

“We have made good progress reducing corporate costs and simplifying the management and operational structures between HT&E and ARN."

CEO Ciaran Davis says the focus on the core radio business is highly cash generative with exceptional margins.

"Across the network we are reaching record numbers every week and we have maintained our winning edge, retaining the number one and two FM breakfast shows in Sydney, and KIIS 101.1 in Melbourne recording its highest station audience since 2014," he says.

"We are continuing to focus on growing ratings and gaining market share by recruiting and retaining the best radio talent in Australia.”

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