ARN: The focus of continued growth in 2015

APN News & Media’s AGM was held yesterday with the board announcing dividend payouts to shareholders will continue to be withheld until the company can get a better handle on its debt (see here).

Today, CEO Michael Miller and Jeff Howard gave a presentation to the Macquarie Australia Conference, outlining more of the company’s plans for the year ahead.

APN  has a diverse portfolio of assets including ARN which dominates the Australian radio landscape with the “biggest audience of any metro network.” It remains an area the company sees for continued growth opportunities.

This year it launched Kiis in Melbourne with Matt Tilley and Jane Hall for breakfast, along with an expanded national Drive show with Hughesy and Kate behind the wheel, but ARN remains focused on further share growth, not only in Melbourne but across all of the ARN markets.

Other strategies for 2015 include diversifying revenue and creating new commercial opportunities.

The positive start to 2015 that APN reported at the time of the 2014 full year results has continued:

• Group revenues year to date are six per cent ahead of prior year. This includes the additional revenues from the acquisition of Perth’s 96FM that completed in late January.
• Advertising market conditions have softened somewhat in April, and comparatives were improving this time last year. We remain focused on share growth in all our markets.
• Costs have increased, primarily due to revenue growth in ARN, the acquisition of 96FM, and NZME’s integration.
• Group EBITDA is tracking ahead of last year.
• NPAT is therefore consistent with prior year, with interest savings from last year’s refinancing being offset by increased depreciation and amortisation following 2014 investments, and a higher effective tax rate.

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