Fairfax annual report released, shares drop

“It has been an interesting and challenging year for your company,” Roger Corbett.


Fairfax Media shares have sunk to 40 cents on the release of the company’s annual report to the stock exchange, in advance of the AGM on October 24th.

Corbett wrote in the report: “I am pleased to report that we have made very good progress with our strategic initiatives to reduce our cost base significantly and to transform our business to take advantage of the digital developments that allow us to compete more and more effectively in real time and multiple media.”

Not everyone was so pleased. Investors dumped the stock on confirmation of the company’s $2,732.4 million statutory loss. As reported earlier, Fairfax has a more healthy Underlying Net Profit After Tax of $205.4 million, but that is still down 25% on last year.

Commenting on the radio side of the business, Corbett told investors in the report: “Our radio business has new management that is vigorously engaged in growing the business,” indicating it is not likely to be sold at this time, despite earlier pressure to do so.

CEO Greg Hywood wrote: “Fairfax Media is being restructured to ensure its strong future in a massively changed media environment. While we have some way to go, we are getting runs on the board.”

The company is “fixing its cost base,” a reference to the recent redundencies, mostly in the newspaper side of the business. In the annual report Corbett commented: “Every job matters and your board and management wish these redundancies were avoidable.”

As reported earlier on radioinfo, Fairfax Radio revenue dropped nearly 13%, down from $111 million to $97 million.

To see the Annual Report, click here.