Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd (PBL), one of Australia's big three entertainment and media companies, has revealed its first annual loss in over 10 years for the year ending June 30.
The result, which was entirely expected, was largely due to the collapse of telecommunications company One.Tel earlier this year. PBL lost $45.3m (A$84.6m) compared to last year's after-tax profit of $173.4m (A$324m). PBL executive chair James Packer, who drove the substantial investment in One.Tel, described the final result as "clearly very disappointing".
PBL owns Australia's highest-rating television network and biggest magazine group, a range of internet-based businesses, and substantial gambling interests. It is a shareholder in dominant pay TV platform Foxtel, in a sport and a news channel, and in New Regency in the US. Key shareholder, the Packer family, privately owns Hoyts Cinemas and recently announced it would be returning to distribution.
If not for non-recurring writedowns of nearly $214.1m (A$400m), primarily due to the decision to heavily back the now defunct One.Tel, but also associated with television investments in India, the profit after tax would have been $163.3m (A$312.6m).
"Whilst this is 3.6% below last year, the result compares favourably with most media companies," said PBL managing director and chief executive Peter Yates, blaming a tough advertising market, the introduction of a goods and services tax and foreign currency issues.