Harare – Listed diversified media group Zimbabwe Newspapers (1980) Limited’s revenue for the year ended December 31, 2018 grew by 9.8 percent to close at $43.1 million compared to $39.1 million realised in 2017, driven by a 42.5 percent growth from the Commercial Printing Division following improved capacity utilisation and the commissioning of an exercise book printing machine.
In a statement accompanying the Group’s financial results, Board Chairman, Delma Lupepe said the Newspapers and Radio Broadcasting divisions both recorded revenue growth in the face of economic difficulties.
“The Newspapers and Radio Broadcasting Divisions recorded 3.9 percent and 6.6 percent respectively. The revenue growth was driven by volumes as there were no selling price increases during the period,” he said.
However, Lupepe noted that the radio broadcasting market is faced with increased competition following the introduction of online radio stations, with further competition expected from the looming of community radio stations.
He added that the newspapers have remained resilient in the face of economic challenges which have eroded the ability of companies to advertise and of readers to buy newspapers.
The newspaper division recorded a 3.9 percent growth in revenue to $29.5 million whilst the profitability at $4.8 million was 27.3 percent better than the the prior year as a result of better cost management.
Commercial printing division recorded a 42.5 percent revenue growth to $7.9 million as a result of an increase in demand for the Company’s products and the re-launch of Typocrafters, which is involved in exercise book manufacturing. In line with the revenue growth, the Division’s profit before tax increased by 23.3 percent to $1.2 million compared to 0.9 million for 2017.
The broadcasting division revenue performance improved by 6.6 percent to $5.6 million on the back of increased advertising volumes while operating profit grew by 19.6 percent. Resultantly, the division recorded an operating profit of $0.8 million compared to $0.6 million for the same period last year.
In line with the revenue growth, the Company’s gross profit increased by 7.5 percent to $28.1 million from $26.1 million attained last year.
During the period under review, gross profit margin improved to 34.6 percent compared to 33.3 percent for the same period last year.
The Company’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) grew by 19.5 percent to $8.2 million compared to $6.8 million in 2017.
Consequently, the Company recorded a 29.7 percent increase in profit before finance charges and exchange loss and tax to $5.8 million from $4.4 million recorded the prior year. The cost of borrowing was reduced by 21.1 percent to $0.5 million as the Company reduced its loans and overdraft.
In the period under review, the Company’s trade debtors were reduced by 33.7 percent to $6.0 million compared to $9.1 million for 2017.
In line with improved cash collections, the Company’s total liabilities were reduced by 10.7 percent to $25.1 million compared to $28.1 million recorded for the prior year.
Additionally, the Company declared a dividend of RTGS$0.00131 per share.
In its future prospects, the Group said it is in a new phase where the vision of becoming a fully integrated media house is now being realised as it expects to launch its television business in 2019 to allow it to reach out to its audiences through radio, print, online and television.
Lupepe noted that the Company’s 2019 financial performance has started on a relatively low note as performance was affected by change in functional currency and the general slowdown of demand in the economy, adding that the Board and management is still optimistic of recovery and therefore expects that performance for the year 2019 will be better than what was recorded in 2018.
Zimbabwe Newspapers (1980) Ltd is the oldest newspaper publisher and commercial printer in Zimbabwe, as well as being the largest publisher of newspapers, having been in the industry since 1891. It publishes 13 newspaper titles and runs a Broadcasting Division.
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