Apologies for the second day running for a weekday media blogpost, but this is not just egregious, it’s flagitious. A company many of you won’t be familiar with, has just reported its results. The company, APN News and Media publishes newspapers, operates radio stations and sells billboard advertising in Australia and New Zealand mostly. Why should it be of interest to you? Because Ireland’s largest print media group, Independent News and Media – which publishes the Independent, Sunday Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday World, Belfast Telegraph and regional newspapers here – owns 29% of APN.
APN’s results for full year 2012 were yesterday delivered to the Australian Stock Exchange – they don’t appear to be available on the APN website, at least not yet. There is a series of filings with the Australian Stock Exchange yesterday – see here. The annual results are here.
Now take a look at a report from Rupert Murdoch’s “The Australian”
If you relied on Irish reporting, you might think everything was hunky dory with APN. After all, an A$ 54m profit sounds bonzer, doesn’t it?
In fact, APN made a loss of A$ 455.8m, yes, nearly half a billion Australian dollars (€355m). Take a look at an extract of the annual report produced at the top of this blogpost.
Not only that, but the turmoil on the board of APN is reported in “The Australian” which suggests that the right hand man of Denis O’Brien – IN&M’s largest shareholder with 29.9% – Vincent Crowley is in the frame to take over as CEO of APN following a resignation this week.
This news comes the same week as IN&M announced the sale of its South African businesses for R2bn (€169.8m) which is some €70m less than was originally expected, and also the same week as there has been speculation that IN&M is looking for a debt writedown, which might affect you and me, because we own or part-own some of the banks that lend to IN&M.
No wonder sales of Irish newspapers are tumbling. There has been a suggestion that both the Irish Times and Irish Independent will take their content behind a pay-wall this year. At this rate, we should be paying them to remove their reporting from general view, as soon as possible.