Business

AME delivers an improved financial performance

JSE-listed African Media Entertainment (AME) has reported an improved financial performance in the six months to end-September, driven largely by the recovery in advertising revenue post the Covid-19 pandemic.

The company, which owns radio assets and a portfolio of digital media services, publishing and business broadcasting assets, reported an improvement in all the key financial performance indicators in the reporting period.

Revenue rose by 11% to R128.4 million from R116 million in September 2021.

AME chair Connie Molusi said the revenue growth was mainly driven by the recovery of advertising revenue post the pandemic but stressed that the medium term impact of the pandemic on the advertising sector is still relevant when looking at the period under review.

The revenue growth resulted in a 22% improvement in operating profit to R14.6 million from R12 million.

Net profit before tax increased by 38% to R20.5 million from R14.9 million.

Headline earnings per share grew by 53% to 149.1 cents from 97.3 cents.

The continued recovery in performance in the current period resulted in AME declaring an interim dividend of 100 cents per share, which is 25% higher than the 80 cents per share dividend declared for the corresponding period last year.

Outlook

AME CEO Dave Tiltmann is optimistic about the group’s prospects, adding that advertising revenues are now very close to what the group achieved pre-Covid-19 in 2019.

Tiltmann expects the group’s performance for the full year to be in line with the previous year while admitting that “there are obviously a lot of factors that are at play in South Africa”.

“We’ve had some really brilliant months through revenue and also one or two difficult ones, so at the moment we are taking it month by month but we are extremely positive and our outlook is very optimistic,” he said.

Tiltmann said the uncertainty around the economy, load shedding and the number of other issues South Africa is facing has created a bit of doubt in the minds in advertisers, causing them to hold back on advertising expenditure.

This is creating fluctuations in the group’s revenue streams from quarter to quarter, he said.

Tiltmann added that October this year was a relatively poor month across the board in the industry whereas November, which ties in to events like Black Friday, has seen a massive increase in revenue spend by the advertising industry.

“In general this year has been relatively positive. I’m pretty optimistic based on what I’ve seen so far in November. It’s a good start to the second six months of the year,” he said.

Tiltmann said AME obviously cannot change the economic environment, and the biggest opportunity the group sees is to spend time relooking at the Moneyweb offering that it has, particularly on the revenue side.

“It has not been meeting our expectations this financial year but we have got plans in place to grow that back. We are fully committed to do that and returning the business into a positive position,” he said.

As part of this initiative, Moneyweb will be hosting its second Better Investor Conference during the third quarter of the year – on Tuesday, 29 November – and the group is encouraged by the growing interest from advertisers.

Tiltmann said other than Moneyweb, all of the group’s products and brands have done extremely well in the six month reporting period, particularly the group’s radio products.

“Our numbers for Algoa FM, which is based in the Eastern Cape, have been excellent and OFM based in central South Africa has also had a good six months set of results,” he said.

Share repurchase

AME repurchased 199 621 of its shares during the six-month reporting period for R7.1 million and submitted a share repurchase programme to the JSE on 28 September.

That programme was completed after the reporting period on 28 October and resulted in the repurchase of a total 226 000 shares during this period for R7.7 million.

Tiltmann said the group’s share repurchase scheme is obviously driven by their belief that AME’s share price is undervalued.

“With the permission of the JSE, we have been embarking on that process and we will continue to look at that as we look forward,” he said.

Shares in AME closed unchanged on Wednesday at R39.88 per share.


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