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Financial review

This review sets out highlights of the group’s financial performance for the past year. Full details appear in the annual financial statements of the company.

Revenues

Consolidated revenues of the group grew by 5% to R8,2bn for the year. Significant contributions to revenue growth came from book publishing and sales (10% growth), printing revenue (6% growth) and subscription revenue growth of 25%, primarily due to the I-Net Bridge acquisition, while contract publishing revenue benefited from the effect of the full consolidation of New Media Publishing. The group’s focus on growing its non-print revenues gained further impetus with substantial growth of 195% from ecommerce activities. Advertising revenue declined by 3%, mainly due to the shift of national advertising away from print media, while circulation revenue declined by 2%.

Trading profit

The consolidated trading profit declined by 5% to R519m. The book publishing division continued to perform well with the final implementation of the new school curriculum, and Jonathan Ball Publishers acquiring new agencies. The magazines division put in a sterling performance, boosted by the full consolidation of New Media Publishing. Despite the implementation of cost reductions, the news division’s trading profit suffered due to a drop in advertising revenue. The printing division continued to build on their initiatives to grow their revenues outside of South Africa.

The group continues to make substantial investments in digital, financial data and ecommerce to diversify its operations into non-print activities, with the consequent short-to medium-term impact on trading profit. Given these investments, the trading profit of our traditional printing operations grew by 2% year on year.

Free cash flow

The group’s free cash flow is R351m lower than the previous financial year, largely due to the lower cash generated from operations and capital expenditure of R109m higher than the previous year.

R’m Dividends paid

Preparation of results and accounting policies

Our financial results for the year to 31 March 2014 have been prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and the requirements of the Companies Act No 71 of 2008, as amended. Except as noted in the summarised annual financial statements and the complete annual financial statements, accounting policies are consistent with those applied in the previous period and IFRS. These results have been audited by the company’s auditor, PricewaterhouseCoopers Inc., whose unqualified report is available for inspection at the registered office of the company.

Summarised annual financial statements and complete annual financial statements

The summarised annual financial statements appear here. The complete annual financial statements for the year to 31 March 2014 are available on www.media24.com. A printed copy of the annual financial statements is available from the chief financial officer, Manie Mayman at the registered office of the company (the details appear here).