Media Prima’s 3Q19 net loss narrows to RM24m

by TMR

LOWER operating expenses helped to narrow Media Prima Bhd’s net loss to RM24.16 million in the third quarter ended Sept 30, 2019 (3Q19), versus a net loss of RM30.71 million recorded in the same period last year.

Revenue fell 2.3% year-on-year (YoY) to RM265.55 million in 3Q19 hit by the traditional revenue segment, the group told Bursa Malaysia yesterday.

This marks a third straight lossmaking quarter for the fully-integrated media company, which owns the New Straits Times, Berita Harian and Harian Metro newspapers, as well as the TV3, ntv7, 8TV and TV9 television stations.

The group also has several radio stations, websites and billboard advertising companies under its belt.

Media Prima group chairman Datuk Syed Hussian Aljunid said the group’s overall performance continues to be challenged due to the decline in traditional advertising and circulation revenues.

“We will accelerate the next phase of our transformation to adapt our businesses to the fast-changing conditions in the media sector,” he said.

Group MD Datuk Kamal Khalid said the media company will continue to build on the positive growth achieved by its digital and commerce initiatives, while taking measures to further improve costs and operational efficiencies.

For the nine months ended Sept 30, 2019 (9M19), Media Prima’s net loss widened to RM73.4 million from a net loss of RM20.58 million in the same period last year.

This included the one-off gain on sale of shares in an associate amounting to RM45.4 million recorded in 9M18.

9M19 revenue fell 10.4% YoY to RM801.41 million as traditional revenue segment fell.

Traditional advertising and circulation revenues for the nine months dropped by 15% and 21% respectively against the corresponding period.

“Cautious spending contributed to revenue decline across the group’s business segments,” the firm said adding the sustained decline in advertising expenditure market impacted the overall performance of the group during 3Q19.

Although the group has made substantial progress in its transformation journey, the impact of digital disruption to traditional media revenue severely impacts the group’s profitability even with significant savings achieved from the cost management initiatives.

“The group is undergoing internal reorganisation which will be able to optimise its way of working in order to ensure it is better placed to meet the ever-evolving consumer needs and deliver savings that can be reinvested into accelerating new growth,” Media Prima said.

Earlier this month, Media Prima announced it will be embarking on a business transformation and internal restructuring exercise which is expected to be completed in 1Q20.

This involves changing its business model and restructuring internally to enable the group to be sustainable given uncertain macroeconomic conditions and disruptive changes in the global and local media sectors.

In November last year, Media Prima’s subsidiary Sistem Televisyen Malaysia Bhd, which operates freeto-air television station TV3, gave 190 employees three months’ notice of its intention to retrench them, while offering a mutual separation scheme to 43 others.

Last month, Aurora Mulia Sdn Bhd emerged as the substantial shareholder in Media Prima with a 31.9%.

Aurora Mulia had in September acquired 88.29 million shares or a 7.9% stake in the media group for an average of 60 sen per share.

The investment vehicle had also purchased 70% equity interest in Dilof Sdn Bhd, which holds the printing licenses and archives of Utusan Malaysia and Kosmo!, following the shutdown of Utusan Melayu (M) Bhd’s operations. Dilof has since been renamed Media Mulia Sdn Bhd.

Shares of Media Prima closed 5.17% lower at 28 sen yesterday, valuing the company at RM305.03 million. — TMR