Johnnic Communications reports a massive rise in interim earnings

Thomas McLachlan

Thomas McLachlan

Media and entertainment giant Johnnic Communications (Johncom) reported a 69 percent rise in interim headline earnings yesterday, with strong performances from its Sowetan and Sunday World newspapers.

Headline earnings for the six months to September increased from R185million to R311million with profit from operations rising 62 percent to R330million.

"The interim period was characterised by strong divisional performances across the group.

"Notably, year-on-year comparisons highlight the continued increasing contribution to creating wealth for all of our stakeholders," said acting group chief executive officer Prakash Desai.

"The group's balance sheet remains strong and practically ungeared. Net cash resources were R611million at September 30," he added.

The group's media division continued its record growth on the back of a buoyant advertising market with its Sunday Times, digital and education businesses showing "excellent" growth.

The group added that its Eastern Cape titles saw impressive improvements in performance.

Mike Robinson, chief executive officer of Johncom's Eastern Cape media division, said the company's main titles in the Eastern Cape, The Daily Dispatch, The Herald and the Weekend Post, had all performed well.

"The Eastern Cape as a whole has seen massive improvement," said Robinson, adding that the Daily Dispatch had shown a 9 percent increase in earnings before interest and tax over the year, but this had come off a strong base.

The Herald newspaper showed the strongest growth in the Eastern Cape with profit surging a massive 1000%.

This was on the back of dramatic restructuring in management and improved efficiencies, Robinson said.

"We basically brought the Herald up to performing at the same level as the Dispatch and in both cases we're looking at improving the quality of the readership and not just increasing readership figures," he said, explaining that advertising revenue was highest at the top end of the market.