Tiso Blackstar Group building. Picture: MASI LOSI
Tiso Blackstar Group building. Picture: MASI LOSI

JSE-listed media group Tiso Blackstar on Monday reported a R548m loss for the year ended June, as one-off impairment charges related to disposals and accounting standards offset a stronger operating performance.

Tiso Blackstar, the publisher of Business Day, Sowetan and the Sunday Times, said revenues from continuing operations decreased by 22.8% to R2.4bn from R3.05bn in the previous financial year.

The impairments totaled R443.3m and were mainly due to one-off costs such as impairments of assets, relocation costs for Hirt & Carter to a new facility and a write-off of its interest in Robor. The write-off includes loan receivables owing by Robor of R68.3m 

CEO Andrew Bonamour said in a statement the trading performance increased by 3% to R416m from the previous year, which is “commendable, considering the difficult trading economic conditions. However, this solid trading did not translate into profits, mainly due to the significant other losses incurred during the year”.

Tiso Blackstar said losses also arose from the disposal of its subsidiaries Smartcall Technology Solutions and Consolidated Steel Industries.

Tiso Blackstar has sold its print, broadcasting and content businesses in SA, Ghana and Kenya to Lebashe for R1.05bn. The deal was recently approved by the Competition Tribunal.

The media business "performed very well" by holding earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) or core profit at the same levels as the previous year, despite a drop in revenue. 

Lebashe is an unlisted investment holding company focusing on financial services and ICT. The company holds stakes in a number of businesses, such as Capitec, EOH and RainFin.

Tiso Blackstar’s shares were 2.86% up to close at R3.60 a share on Monday.

Correction: October 22 2019

An earlier version of this story said Tiso Blackstar's loss was due to operating and disposals losses, but it was actually due to one-off write-downs related to disposals and accounting standards. The story now also includes the performance of the media business. 

gavazam@businesslive.co.za