Profits slowly going down in the West

A TOUGH economy has pegged back the performance of West Australian Newspapers but the company is still on target to show a healthy profit of close to A$100 million.

CEO Chris Wharton said today earnings were down 14.2 percent for the first nine-months of its financial year, providing a “normalised” profit of A$77.7 million. However, this represented a jump of 5.2 percent in net profit on the corresponding period last year.

The past 12 weeks had been “very difficult”, said Mr Wharton, who has recently taken over from Ken Steinke, a  former PANPA board member.

The company is publisher of the daily newspaper in Perth, The West Australian, and more than 20 regional publications.

It had experienced falls in the real estate and jobs advertising markets,  Mr Wharton said.

As a consequence, he said he was downgrading his year-end profit forecast  to A$93-A$98 million, compared with A$103-A$108 million earlier this year.

The advertising market had now stabilised and his company was confident of delivering profit within the new forecast.

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