TradeMe powers on for Fairfax Media as Kiwi operations up profits

Aussie-based media behemoth Fairfax Media has released its results for the last half of 2011, with  TradeMe continuing to shine and the New Zealand arms of the business also reporting double digit profit increases despite a slow economy.

Fairfax Media, which recently announced Greg Hywood as permanent chief executive after he took over from Brian McCarthy late last year, reported earnings in New Zealand of $46.1 million in the six months to December 31, up 11 percent on the $41.6 million last year. Earnings before interest and tax rose ten percent to $52m.

Local advertising revenue for the 100 newspapers and magazines and 19 websites on the books rose three percent to $173m in New Zealand, while circulation revenue fell two percent to $NZ69m. Total revenue from the New Zealand media business was $246m, up one percent on last year, while costs fell one percent to $194m.

TradeMe,which is included in a separate unit of Fairfax’s nine separate business units, increased revenue by 11 percent and earnings by eight percent to $48m.

The company says the site is experiencing growth in employment listings and there’s some product development afoot. But it’s also experiencing growth in moaning from users after listing fees were increased for the first time since 2008 (TradeMe spokesman Paul Ford put the rise down to the increased eyeballs from a 90 percent growth rate in two years and also GST).

Revenue from the online and mobile New Zealand media business, which includes Stuff but not TradeMe, grew 40 percent to $NZ4.3m.

As for the Mothership in Australia, net profit after tax was up 15 percent to $A165.4 million and revenue was up three percent to $A1.3 billion, with Fairfax Digital increasing earnings before tax by nine percent to $A58 million and revenue by 12 percent to $A114 million.

Fairfax’s major competitor APN reported increased profit of 15 percent in its New Zealand print operations in August last year, claiming that close relationships with key clients and an increase of 28 percent in the average weekly audience for the nzherald.co.nz over the previous half led to a significant increase in multimedia advertising deals.

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