Communicorp revenue falls 6.5%
Revenue at Communicorp fell 6.5 per cent last year as the media group owned by telecoms billionaire Denis O’Brien sold its Ukraine business and battled “difficult” market and trading conditions.
Group turnover at the company, which owns Today FM, Newstalk and several other Irish radio stations, fell €4.4 million to €64 million, with the company attributing the decline to the divestment of two Ukrainian radio stations in early 2011.
However, a “prudent programme” of cost control helped the company increase its operating profit to €6.6 million, up from €4.9 million the previous year, while its net loss narrowed from €2.1 million to €359,000. Expenses were pulled back to €57.3 million compared to €63.5 million the previous year, while staff numbers fell from 702 to 613.
“Communicorp’s operating profits and advertising revenues were exceptionally strong during a most difficult economic period,” said group chief executive Paddy Halpenny.
The group reduced its bank borrowings from Ulster Bank and Bank of Ireland by €19.7 million to €90.1 million last year and said it had repaid a further €9 million this year.
Mr O’Brien also reduced the total debt of the group by converting €50 million of shareholder loans into equity. This is referred to as a “capital contribution” in the company’s accounts. The move halved the size of his loan to the company to €49.5 million.
Communicorp operates and manages 39 radio stations in eight countries. In Ireland, which accounts for €36 million of its turnover, it operates music stations 98FM, Spin 103.8, Spin South West and Phantom, as well as the two national stations. Its other interests are based in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Latvia and Jordan.
The company said it had dedicated “significant resources” to the development of its digital division, Communicorp Digital.
“We are confident that the group has strong future growth potential,” Mr Halpenny said.
The directors are Mr O’Brien, Mr Halpenny, Maria Mahon, Lucy Gaffney and Paul Connolly. Ms Gaffney and Mr Connolly also sit on the board of Independent News Media.