TORONTO — Torstar Corp. had a $4.8-million profit attributable to shareholders and improved adjusted earnings in the second quarter, giving the media company an early indication that its turnaround efforts are beginning to pay off.
In the comparable period last year, Torstar’s posted a loss of just under $7 million.
Net income in the six months ended June 30 was equal to six cents per share, which compared with a loss of nine cents per share in last year’s second quarter including discontinued operations.
Adjusted earnings from continuing operations equalled 16 cents per share, compared with a loss of three cents per share a year ago.
The year-over-year improvements were due primarily to lower spending on salaries and benefits, other operating costs and less restructuring-related expenses.
Revenue was down 11.5 per cent to $143.2 million in the second quarter from $161.7 million a year earlier.
Like most traditional newspapers, magazines and broadcast media, Torstar has been undergoing a years-long decline in advertising revenue due to competition from digital media and changing consumer habits.
“While we are in the early days of a comprehensive multi-phased transformation plan, signs of progress are clear.” said John Boynton, Torstar’s president and CEO.
“While print advertising trends remain challenging we saw trends improve in the local category and we continue to be pleased with the stability we are seeing in subscriber revenue which is a large and more resilient part of our business.”
“Our results also benefited from synergies associated with the purchase and sale of a number of daily and community papers in late 2017 as well as continued efforts on costs which helped to offset continued pressure on print advertising revenues and necessary investments in our transformation.”
The exchange of publications between Torstar and Postmedia Network Canada Corp. is being investigated by the federal Competition Bureau. The companies say their deal complied with the law and they’re co-operating.
Torstar holds an investment in The Canadian Press as part of a joint agreement with a subsidiary of the Globe and Mail and the parent company of Montreal’s La Presse.
Companies in this story: (TSX:TS.B, TSX:PNC.B)
David Paddon, The Canadian Press