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  • Southern Cross Media (SXL) has ended FY20 with decreases in earnings, revenues and profit, as the radio and TV sector were battered by COVID-19
  • The media group’s revenue dropped 18.2 per cent from FY19 to total $540.8 million
  • Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) was also down 36.9 per cent year-on-year to total $93 million
  • While underlying net profit after tax (NPAT) dropped a massive 51.6 per cent, from $73.9 million to $35.8 million
  • Positively, Southern Cross managed to more than halve it’s net debt in FY20, after a successful $161 million placement in April
  • The company also decreased expenses by implementing cost-cutting measures once the COVID-19 pandemic began in March
  • Shares in SXL are trading for 17.3 cents each, up 4.55 per cent

Southern Cross Media (SXL) has ended the 2020 financial year with decreases in earnings, revenues and profit, as the radio and TV sector were battered by COVID-19.

Southern Cross owns close to 90 radio stations across Australia, including the Hit Network and Triple M, as well as some Nine and Seven Regional TV stations across the East coast.

The company’s biggest hit during FY20 was its underlying net profit after tax (NPAT) which dropped from $73.9 million down to $35.8 million in FY20, a decline of 51.6 per cent. It’s non-underlying NPAT for FY20 totalled $25.1 million.

The media group’s earnings also suffered during the 12 months to June 30, 2020, with EBITDA dropping 36.9 per cent, from $147.4 million to $93 million. Revenue also declined a more modest 18.6 per cent, from $661 million to $540.8 million in FY20.

It wasn’t all bad news though: Southern Cross managed to more than halve its debt during the last financial year, decreasing it from $292.6 million in FY19 to $131.6 million in FY20 — a 55 per cent drop. The historical result is being credited to a $160.8 million placement carried out in April this year.

Along with the strong debt reduction, the company also managed to reduce costs by 12.8 per cent, or $65.8 million, over FY20. SXL said this was driven by savings in discretionary spending and employee-related expenses.

Southern Cross implemented a range of cost-cutting measures during COVID-19 and received $16 million from the Federal Government’s JobKeeper wage subsidy. It also qualified for $10 million worth of Federal Government funding, designed to help regional news stations keep going during the pandemic.

Looking ahead, Southern Cross Austereo CEO, Grant Blackley, said the focus would be on growing its digital audio market, with PodcastOne’s revenue up 96 per cent in FY20.

“Strategic decisions taken in recent years will enable the business to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis with a lean and efficient operating model focused on recovering the earnings lost in the year just ended,” he said.

“We will continue to build the strength of our radio network by investing in key timeslots and markets. At the same time, we will grow our digital audio ecosystem with premium content, platforms and products attractive to our listeners and advertisers,” he added.

Following’s today full-year results release, shares in SXL have opened strong, trading up 4.55 per cent for 17.3 cents each at 11.08 am AEST.

SXL by the numbers
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