THE NEWS WRAP: Fairfax half-year profit drops 49.8%

Fairfax has reported its profit for the December half fell by 49.8% year-on-year to $193.8 million.


However, the media giant says its underlying pre-tax profit – excluding once-off losses and gains – rose by 2.3% to $178 million.


“It is a credit to the skill and resilience of everyone at Fairfax that the company has recorded its first year-on-year increase in underlying EBITDA [earnings before interest tax depreciation and amortisation] for continuing businesses since June 2010,” Fairfax chief executive Greg Hywood says.


“We have shown a determination to transform the business through cost reductions and driving new revenue streams. It is these strategies that underpin a half-year result that’s starkly at odds with the conventional wisdom that traditional media companies face a bleak future simply because reductions in print advertising cannot be immediately offset by increases in digital revenue.”


Chinese manufacturing industry index slides to a seven-month low


HSBC’s flash China manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) has fallen to 48.3 points during February, its lowest level in seven months.


A score above 50 points indicates an improvement in China’s manufacturing sector.


“The building-up of disinflationary pressures implies that the underlying momentum for manufacturing growth could be weakening,” HSBC’s chief China economist Hongbin Qu says.


“We believe Beijing policymakers should and can fine-tune policy to keep growth at a steady pace in the coming year.”


Business leaders call for $57 trillion in extra infrastructure funding worldwide


Business leaders have called on governments around the world to add an extra $57 trillion in funding for major infrastructure projects, including roads, rail, ports and energy, ahead of the G20 finance meeting in Sydney.


“If we want to take the opportunity, we’ve got to give [investors] the right environment to invest,” Telstra chief executive David Thodey says.


“We are trying to get real clarity around those issues and come up with something that is really practical, and that governments can buy into and we can work on.”




The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up to 16141.7. The Aussie dollar is up to US90.12 cents.


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