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Caxton: double digit decline in half-year profits

Poorer performance largely blamed on fall in advertising and tougher SA economic conditions.
Newspapers being printed at one of Caxton's printing presses. The group reported a decline profits for its half-year to December 2019. Image: Supplied

JSE-listed media company Caxton and CTP Publishers and Printers saw group profit after taxation decline R38.7 million or 18.1% to R175.5 million for its half-year to the end of December 2019, which was published on Thursday morning.

Headline earnings per ordinary share for the period declined 12.5% to 45.3 cents. Despite the weakening performance and continuing coronavirus-induced volatility on the JSE, Caxton’s share price was up almost 1% in early morning trade, at R6.15 a share.

The group’s share price has however lost some 17% over the past week.

Caxton blamed the poorer performance largely on its publishing, printing and distribution business which has been hit by a decline in advertising, reduced margins and higher operational costs.

“The group delivered a reasonable set of results in the face of significant economic headwinds that led to a decline in revenues and margin pressure. Although operating expenses were well controlled, this could not compensate for the top line and margin decline that resulted in a decline in headline earnings per share of 12.5%,” it said in a JSE Sens results announcement.

“The bulk of this decline can be attributed to the publishing, printing and distribution segment of our group where the trading environment led to a drop in advertising revenue at a local level and reduced margins as a result of increased input costs in our commercial printing operations, which as a result of intensified competitor activity, could not be passed on. These conditions were highlighted in our financial year end review, but further intensification was experienced during the current reporting period,” it noted.

Caxton reported that net finance income for the period increased from R71.7 million to R97.6 million. However, it said that the increase in finance income was “somewhat offset” by the decline in dividends received from its investment in Novus Holdings Limited.

“With the cancellation of the incentive share scheme for executive directors that was approved at a shareholders general meeting held on 13 December 2019, deemed interest received of R25.4 million was recognised,” it added.

 

 

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