Finance Finance News Fairfax profit up 4.2 per cent on stronger real estate

Fairfax profit up 4.2 per cent on stronger real estate

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Media group Fairfax has announced an uptick in its half-year profit to $27.4 million, underpinned by growth in real estate advertising, subscriptions and digital revenue.

The result, for the six months to the end of December, is a 4.2 per cent increase compared to the same period the year before.

Fairfax reported a 14.3 per cent growth in digital subscription revenue, which offset modest declines in newspaper circulation.

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Fairfax said it has around 162,000 paid digital subscribers across the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age.

“We have made it clear many times that we are managing a structural shift in publishing from print to digital,” chief executive and managing director Greg Hywood said in a statement.

“We continue to adapt our business model to this reality, which involves an intense focus on cost reduction and the creation of new revenue opportunities.”

Fairfax’s revenue rose 1.6 per cent to $958.1 million, while its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) came in at $98.6 million, up 15.5 percent from $85.3 million in the prior corresponding period.

One of its strongest performances was in its real estate arm, Domain, which reported a total digital revenue growth of 37 per cent.

Domain’s EBITDA was $65.7 million for the half-year, or around two-thirds of Fairfax’s total earnings.

Excluding one-off costs and gains, Fairfax’s EBITDA was $161.1 million, putting Domain’s contribution at 41 per cent of profits.

Underlying earnings before interest, tax, amortisation and depreciation for the Domain property business rose 73.8 per cent to $65.7 million, with advertising up for both digital and print.

Fairfax announced a newsroom restructure at the Age and the Sydney Morning Herald earlier this week, with editor-in-chief of The Age, Andrew Holden, departing the masthead.

Shares in Fairfax dipped 0.3 per cent to $0.828 by 10:31am (AEDT), in line with broader market moves.

Its shares have lost 10 per cent so far this year, compared to a broader market loss of 6.1 per cent.

Print circulation revenue for titles including The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian Financial Review declined 1.3 per cent to $113.8 million.

The company says revenue in the first seven weeks of the second half has been between one and two per cent down on the prior corresponding period.


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