HT&E chairman Hamish McLennan (pictured) says outdoor, radio and digital media is in the strongest position across all Australian media as the coronavirus crisis continues to impact the industry.
Speaking at the HT&E digital general meeting on Thursday, McLennan said the company has “one of the strongest balance sheets in Australian media”.
He said: “While some businesses are struggling with their capital structures, your company had $111 million net cash at the end of 2019, no undrawn debt and a radio business generating strong cash conversion.”
This is despite recording a profit slump in 2019, with net profit after tax before exceptional items and discontinued operations was $38.5 million, down from $39.1 million the previous year.
In 2018 HT&E sold off its OOH business Adshel to oOh!media for $570 million, while in 2019 the company ended its short-lived esports venture Gfinity Esports Australia and sold publishing business The Roar.
Last month it took a 4.2 per cent stake in oOh!media after the out-of-home company asked the market for an emergency capital raising.
McLennan said: “We recently maintained our optionality in what we believe will be a consolidating sector by purchasing a stake in oOh! Media.
“Having sold Adshel to oOh! for $570m, it is a business we know well, we believe in the emerging strengths of a combined radio and out of home offering we look forward to being constructive long term shareholder in the business.”
HT&E’s Australian Radio Network is the home of hosts such as Kyle & Jackie O on KIIS network and Jonsey & Amanda on the Pure Gold network.
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