James Packer’s PBL says 2007 net profit fell 5.7% because of the impact of the spin-off and sale of its media assets and losses from its Macau casino start-up.
The fall compares to the 62% lift in profit reported by Seven Network yesterday.
PBL said this morning that net profit for the year to June 30 was $576 million compared to $611.5 million a year ago.
That was less than broking estimates of $599 million.
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Reported net profit was boosted by the sale of 50% of PBL media to the private equity group, CVC.
That figure was inflated by non-recurring gains of $1.37 billion which the company explained as “the dilutionary earnings impact of the sale of a 50 per cent stake in PBL Media”
It also said another factor in the lower earnings was “PBL’s share of the start-up losses from our investment in our Macau gaming joint venture, which amounted to $47 million.”
However, PBL’s disclosure was minimal compared to Seven, which yesterday reported a 62% rise in net earnings to more than $175 million on the back of its big year on TV and a solid year in magazines.
Seven also included ‘indicative’ figures for the Seven network and Pacific Magazines to allow for meaningful comparisons with 2006.
PBL took the other tack; saying:
PBL Media has been included as a 50 per cent owned equity investment for only one month. PBL has consolidated the PBL Media profit and loss and recorded a minority interest for the 50 per cent owned by CVC for the period February 7 2007 through to May 2007 inclusive (i.e. the four month period between completion and when CVC converted their notes to shares).
This has effectively included Magazine and Television EBITDA for the eleven months together with 100 per cent of the interest cost of PBL Media for the four month period.
For the eleven months, revenue for the Television division was $762.4 million and EBITDA was $206.6 million. For the same period, the Magazine division reported revenue of $794.4 million and an EBITDA of $248.1 million. EBITDA margins for both divisions for the consolidation period were up versus previous year.
But the most interesting disclosure was the first numbers released for one of the most profitable business in Pay TV: Premier Media group, which runs Fox Sports, PBL owns half of that, as well as 25% of Foxtel (which had earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of $237 million).
PBL said that PMG had approximately 2.0 million subscribers and grew pre-tax earnings by 45 per cent to $106 million. This was achieved on the back of 29 per cent revenue growth to approximately $300 million. PBL has included an equity accounted profit of $46 million for the year compared to $36 million in the prior year. PMG distributed $30 million to PBL for the year.
PBL shares were up 7 cents to $16.95 at 11.45 am. They are down around 24% from their recent peak of $22 in May.