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Financial review

This review sets out the 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 1% to R8,3bn for the year. Printing revenue grew by 12% – primarily due to additional third-party work secured by Novus Holdings. The group’s focus on growing its non-print revenues gained further impetus – ecommerce activities (+219%), financial data subscriptions (+154%) and gains from Novus Holdings’ investment in tissue plants (+R116m) were the main contributors to year-on-year growth in non-print revenues.

Advertising revenue declined by 9%, partly due to a shift away from print media and partly as a result of a lacklustre economy. Print circulation revenue remained flat whilst digital circulation revenue grew by 132%. Digital subscription revenue grew by 70%. Print subscription revenues were hampered by the rolling postal strikes. Revenues from book publishing and sales declined by 24% due to the finalisation of the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement implementation cycle in 2013 and an embargo that was placed on schoolbook orders by the Botswana government.

Trading profit

Consolidated trading profit declined by 52% to R247m. The Lifestyle division put in another good performance, boosting its trading performance through brand extensions and cost reductions. Our financial data business INET BFA also turned in a solid performance thanks to cost reductions and synergistic benefits resulting from the merger with I-Net Bridge. All other businesses recorded lower trading results, but efforts to reduce costs to counter lower revenues in our traditional print businesses remained a key focus groupwide.

The group continues to make substantial investments in digital, ecommerce and in other growth opportunities to diversify its operations into non-print activities, with the associated short- to medium-term impact on trading profitability.

Free cash flow

The group’s free cash flow is R76m higher than the previous financial year. This is largely due to an inflow of working capital, lower capital investment, as well as lower tax paid, which was partly offset by lower investment income. The group has implemented a programme across all divisions to optimise the levels of investment in working capital.

Preparation of results and accounting policies

Our financial results for the year to 31 March 2015 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 2015 are available on www.media24.com. A printed copy of the annual financial statements is available from the chief financial officer, Mr Manie Mayman, at the registered office of the company.