Postmedia could sell more buildings to keep newspaper chain afloat
Postmedia Network Canada Corp. still has opportunity to sell more real estate to help the newspaper chain's bottom line, according to CEO Paul Godfrey.
"We own properties in Ottawa, in Montreal," Godfrey told analysts in a conference call today. "And they would definitely be available. I think in Saskatoon and Regina, we own properties there as well."
He said that the company's most valuable real estate is already up for sale in Calgary.
Godfrey added that the Kenney Heights printing plant in Surrey will also probably go on the market "relatively soon".
"We have made that decision, but it will stay in operation until the end of 2014," he said.
The Vancouver Sun and Province newspapers are printed at Kennedy Heights.
Postmedia owns eight other daily papers, including the National Post, Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal, Ottawa Citizen, and the Gazette in Montreal.
Godfrey made the comments after Postmedia released its financial results, which showed a net fourth-quarter loss of $35.8 million. That's up from a $28.4-million loss in the same quarter of the last fiscal year.
The year-end net loss was $153.8 million. That's up from a $23.2-million net loss in the previous year.
Revenue in the quarter fell to $169.3 million—10.9 percent below the same quarter of the last fiscal year.
Postmedia's executive vice president and chief financial officer, Doug Lamb, told analysts that the largest declines were in automotive and financial-services advertising.
He added that print classified advertising continued to decrease in all categories, specifically citing automotive, real estate, and employment.
"It remains evident that the print advertising market remains quite challenging," Lamb said. "In order to address these challenges, we continue to aggressively pursue cost-reduction opportunities. We remain on track to achieve the objectives of our three-year transformation program announced in July 2012."
Godfrey said that continuing to move away from "legacy operations" enables Postmedia to place "greater focus on our advertisers and our products and the experiences that we offer".
"Our strategy for the year ahead has three main focus areas: one to monetize with our audiences and advertisers in new and exciting ways," Godfrey said. "Two, to differentiate our products and the content across our platforms to leverage the unique traits of both the platforms and their distinctive audiences. And third, to engage audiences to leverage our unique insights into audience behaviour."