Solid 2006 Financial Result
Tuesday, 24 October 2006
Canwest Mediaworks Reports Solid 2006 Financial Result
Group Revenue Up $4 million
3.9 Cents Per Share Final Dividend – Total Dividends For Year Up 33%
Auckland: CanWest MediaWorks (NZ) Limited today announced Group revenue for its financial year ended 31 August 2006 of $254.3 million, up 2% or $4 million from its previous financial year.
Group EBITDA (earnings before interest, income tax, depreciation and amortisation) was a solid $65.7 million, marginally lower than the previous year’s record result of $67.3 million.
The Company’s board of directors has approved a fully-imputed final dividend of 3.9 cents per share, payable on 24 November 2006 to shareholders of record as at 10 November 2006. Combined with the 4.5 cents per share interim dividend paid in May 2006, annual dividends paid to shareholders in respect of the 2006 financial year will total 8.4 cents per share – a 33% increase on the previous year’s 6.3 cents per share.
This increased dividend has been possible due to a lower level of operational capital expenditure and continued tight controls on working capital.
“These are very pleasing results for the year, particularly considering the economic softening which occurred in the second half of the financial year,” said CanWest MediaWorks’ Chair of the Board, Tom Strike.
“Although 2006 was a somewhat challenging financial year for the Company, we are very satisfied that we finished the year with Group revenues above those in 2005, and a Group EBITDA result very close to the previous year’s record performance,” Mr Strike said.
“The last financial year has been an important period of consolidation for the Company, having launched a number of new initiatives, such as TV3’s Campbell Live and the new Radio Live network, in 2005. The Company is now in a stronger position with these key strategies firmly in place, with their benefits now flowing through to the bottom line,” he continued.
Consistency has again been the theme of RadioWorks’ performance during the 2006 financial year, with 3% revenue growth up to $110.7 million, and EBITDA of $33.2 million in line with the previous year’s $33.8 million.
“Two key acquisitions were completed during the course of the financial year – Queenstown’s Q92FM and Orewa’s Times FM,” said CanWest MediaWorks’ CEO, Brent Impey. “Both of these stations are in areas which have seen significant population growth, and are strategically important to the Company."
“Launching our top-rated easy-listening station The Breeze, into Auckland has been another important radio development this year. Targeting 40-59 year old women, The Breeze is a brand which already performs strongly for us in seven other markets nationally, and its entry into Auckland complements our audience strategy in this important market,” Mr Impey said.
“Our 100% New Zealand music station, Kiwi FM, was relaunched during the year on new frequencies, supported by New Zealand on Air and the Government. This means our indigenous radio brand remains on air in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch,” he continued.
RadioWorks brands have performed well in the very competitive radio market. At the New Zealand Radio Awards, The Rock won Best Station of the Year (Metropolitan), and Nelson’s More FM took the award for Best Station of the Year (Regional).
The Edge has achieved the excellent position of the most listeners for any music network in New Zealand, with approximately 400,000 listeners a week.
“A more streamlined management structure for RadioWorks has evolved over the course of 2006, which will make our radio operations even more efficient and effective going forward,” said Mr Impey.
The 2006 financial year has proved to be a solid one for TVWorks, despite challenging advertising market conditions.
TVWorks’ revenue rose 1% to $143.6 million and EBITDA remained strong at $35.7 million.
“TV3 has had a brilliant year, albeit in a highly competitive television landscape. TV3’s audience share is up, not only in its target audience of 18-49 year olds, but also amongst other important demographics such as 25-54 year olds,” said Mr Impey.
TV3’s top-rating entertainment shows for the year included local series such as Outrageous Fortune, Downsize Me!, Target, Inside New Zealand and bro’Town.
International hit show highlights on TV3 included the high rating: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, House, Prison Break, CSI: Miami, Bones and Boston Legal.
At the Qantas Television Awards in December, Outrageous Fortune won Best Drama Series, bro’Town Best Comedy Series, and 3 News won Best News.
“Our 3 News team enjoyed an excellent year of editorial strength, supported by strong audience endorsement. During the course of the financial year, 3 News’ share of audience in the target 18-49 year old demographic rose 22% from the previous year (28% in 2005 to 34% in 2006). In the important advertiser demographic of household shoppers with children aged 0-14 years, its share of audience is up 37%, from 28% in 2005 to 39% in the 2006 financial year,” Mr Impey said.
In December, TV3 secured the exclusive New Zealand TV rights to the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France, which will be a significant event for the channel.
Youth channel C4 has also enjoyed excellent growth in its target audience of 15-29 year olds, up from 3.6% share in the 2005 financial year to 4.5% in the year ended 31 August 2006.
“C4 is without doubt New Zealand’s leading music channel, substantially outperforming its competitors,” Mr Impey said.
The first stage in TVWorks preparing for the digital future occurred during the course of the financial year, with the signing of an agreement with broadcast technology firm BCL to sublease satellite capacity on the new Optus D1 satellite. TVWorks will have a cooperative approach with TVNZ to provide New Zealand with free-to-air digital channels, initially delivered via satellite. TV3 and C4 will be a part of the service. Additional channels are likely to be launched during the calendar 2007 year.
Trading for the first quarter of the new financial year, which commenced on 1 September 2006, has been encouraging with Group revenue forecast to be slightly ahead of the comparable period last year. Conditions for the remainder of the financial year remain somewhat uncertain. However, we are heartened by the encouraging signals we are observing in the first quarter’s trading.
This news release contains certain comments or forward-looking statements that are based largely upon the Company's current expectations and are subject to certain risks, trends and uncertainties. These factors could cause actual future performance to vary materially from current expectations. The Company disclaims any intention or obligation to update any forward-looking statement even if new information becomes available as a result of future events or for any other reason.
CanWest MediaWorks (NZ) Limited (NZX: MWL) (website: www.mediaworks.co.nz) is New Zealand’s leading private sector broadcast media company. Through its wholly owned subsidiaries, CanWest TVWorks Limited and CanWest RadioWorks Limited, it owns and operates the TV3 and C4 television networks, national radio brands The Edge, The Rock, More FM, Kiwi FM, Radio Live, Radio Pacific/Radio Trackside, Solid Gold and The Breeze, plus several local radio stations.
CanWest MediaWorks NZ is a majority owned subsidiary of CanWest Global Communications Corp. (TSX: CGS and CGS.A; CGS.NV, NYSE: CWG) (website: www.canwestglobal.com). CanWest, Canada’s largest media company, is Canada’s largest publisher of daily newspapers, and also owns, operates and/or holds substantial interests in free-toair and subscription based television networks, out-of-home advertising, web sites and radio stations and networks in Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey, the United States and the United Kingdom.