The Nation Media Group (NMG) has posted Ksh410.7 million ($3.7 million) pre-tax profit for the first six months of the year, marking a recovery from a similar period last year when it returned a loss of Ksh328 million ($2.9 million) on the back of Covid-19 disruptions.
Growth was supported by a rebound in print, television and digital advertising as well as a rise in revenue from e-paper and Nation.Africa subscriptions.
NMG said the recovery started in the second half of last year and has continued to hold up, helped by the cost containment and business optimisation interventions rolled out at the onset of the pandemic.
Turnover rose by 14 percent to Ksh3.72 billion ($33.9 million) from Ksh3.26 billion ($29.7 million) achieved in preceding similar period as television and digital business streams deepened their contribution to overall revenues for the group.
“The worst is over. Now we are focusing on recovery and growth. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Mr Stephen Gitagama, NMG chief executive officer in Nairobi on Wednesday.
“Our key objective is to ensure that we continue to deliver diverse streams of relevant content that has high quality, is credible and trusted.”
Print advertising revenue grew 18 percent while television’s was up 40 percent. That from online advertising rose by 23 percent in a period in which e-paper subscriptions jumped 28 percent.
NMG finance director Richard Tobiko said many print advertisers started coming back around October last year and the trend has been sustained, offering support to TV and digital revenues.
“E-paper has been a good story. Subscriptions show a positive trend with accelerated shift to consumption of online content. We launched new platform in April last year and we are continuously working on improving user experience on the platform,” said Mr Tobiko.
Despite coronavirus disruptions, NMG’s cash and cash equivalents hit Ksh3.59 billion ($32.7 million) in June compared with Ksh2.78 billion ($25.3 million) in a similar period last year, putting it in a strong position to make long-term investments to sustain its digital transformation agenda.
East Africa’s largest media group last year launched a new digital brand, Nation.Africa, and strengthened its print and broadcast media products through revamped content to retain and attract more readers.
NMG on June 28 also rolled out a share buyback programme, offering investors a chance to cash in on their investment at Ksh25 ($0.23) per share.
Mr Gitagama said yesterday the buyback uptake stood at 16.77 million shares or 80.9 percent of the targeted maximum of 20.74 million shares on Monday, ahead of closing day on September 24.
“We still have a month to go and we think we will achieve a reasonable target. It is the first of its kind in the region and we are happy it worked well,” said Mr Gitagama.