Fairfax Media Ltd., Australia's second largest newspaper publishing firm, has reported an annual net loss of A$2.8 billion ($2.9 billion). A domino effect immediately ensued among investor, sending shares to plummet 5.3 per cent to 53.5 AU cents, its most in two months.
The announcement of the huge loss followed after chief executive Greg Hywood on Thursday said he would forgo 50 per cent of his AU$840,000 bonus because of the difficult conditions the company faces. His total pay for the year was $2.02 million.
In the previous financial year, Fairfax Media's net loss registered at only $390.9 million. The surge was blamed on the A$2.9 billion in write-downs, a A$2.8 billion non-cash impairment charge and other significant items that totaled A$140 million.
Overall revenue of the Sydney-based media group dived from A$2.5 billion to A$2.33 billion.
Fairfax Media, currently in the midst of working towards digital publishing, has faced diminishing revenues from print advertising and circulation, in the process slashing hundreds of jobs.
"These results reflect a challenging trading environment. We continue to drive significant change through the business, consistent with our strategy, and we are responding to a stressed economic environment," Mr Hywood said in a statement.
"Difficult trading conditions are likely to continue," he added.
Fairfax Media will give out a final dividend of one cent a share, down from 1.5 cents a year ago.
Fairfax Media's titles include The Age in Melbourne and Sydney Morning Herald.
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