Fairfax Newspapers down 23.8%, big write down in valuations

Australian publisher Fairfax Media has announced a big drop in earnings for its masthead newspapers The Age and Sydney Morning Herald as the Australian economy slides towards recession.

Revenue at the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age (collectively Fairfax Sydney and Melbourne metropolitan newspapers) reported a 23.8% slide in EBIDTA off the back of a 5% drop in revenue for the period July to December 2008. Advertising revenue was down 9%; segmented data was not provided. The company said in a statement that display advertising in Melbourne was “up strongly.”

The result was worse across the Tasman, with Fairfax New Zealand Publishing report a 28.6% drop. Fairfax regional and community papers reported a 9% drop, and Fairfax Australian printing and Specialist Publications (including the Australian Financial Review) both dropped 13.9%.

The only bright spot for Fairfax was online, which saw a 13.3% rise for the half.

The company also announced a $447.5 million AUD ($288 million USD) write down in its assets.

Full release here.

(via Mumbrella)