Jamie Gray

Jamie Gray is a business reporter for the New Zealand Herald and NZME. news service.

MediaWorks owner posts $305m loss

File photo / Martin Sykes
File photo / Martin Sykes

GR Media Holdings - which owns MediaWorks - reported a $305 million loss for the year to August 2011, mostly reflecting a $241 million non-cash impairment of goodwill arising from its planned restructuring of capital.

GR Media said its trading results were generated in challenging economic conditions and were affected by the Christchurch earthquake.

Group revenue was $258.2 million, up slightly from $257.7 million in the previous year.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation were $44.2 million, down 12 per cent on the previous year.

This week, APNZ reported that Oaktree Capital, a United States-based private equity company that specialises in investing in distressed assets, had bought $125 million of MediaWorks' debt from BOS International and BNZ.

US-based private equity giant TPG and MediaWorks' owner, Sydney-based private equity company Ironbridge, have been at loggerheads over how to restructure the company but the two parties appear to have settled their differences.

About half MediaWorks' debt is now in the hands of the three private equity companies.

TPG and Ironbridge last month put forward an arrangement that involved a cash injection to pay off a $30 million spectrum loan to the Government and to fund programming and sales initiatives. The package included a material reduction in debt levels and a cash injection of $50 million.

GR Media said its financial statements needed to be put in context with its planned capital restructuring. The loss recognised a provision for onerous contracts of $17.7 million.

A $30 million charge for finance costs mostly comprised $28.9 million for bank-related interest charges.

Ironbridge bought MediaWorks, whose assets include TV3, RadioLive and More FM, for $741 million in a leveraged buyout in 2007 - just before the global financial crisis.

GR Media said the restructuring would put the group in a stronger financial position.

"Interest costs will be significantly reduced and the funding structure will support future investment in the operating companies as required," the company said.

"All parties involved in the restructuring are now fully committed to a positive outcome that will ensure MediaWorks has a robust financial structure going forward to underpin its competitive position."

The board said it expected to make an announcement about the restructuring before the end of the year.

MediaWorks faced a smaller interest bill from its lenders of $30 million compared with $50 million a year earlier, though it did not disclose its level of indebtedness, which was $562 million at August 31, 2010.

The 2011 loss includes the cost of analogue transmission, and also accounts for a $13.1 million acceleration in its depreciation and amortisation charges on the national analogue network which is shutting down.

In June, the broadcaster said it planned to spend more on local television programmes as it winds down its deal with CBS Broadcasting and stops taking new shows from the top US network.

- APNZ

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf04 at 30 Dec 2014 03:45:53 Processing Time: 853ms