MELBOURNE Nov 13 Shares in Australia's Seven
West Media Ltd, owner of the top-rated Seven Network,
jumped as much as 21 percent on Tuesday after the group
announced plans to pay down debt and reduce corporate expenses.
As advertising revenues across television and newspapers
continue to slide, Seven West, which also owns the West
Australian newspaper, also said first-half earnings will be
sharply lower than a year earlier.
Chief Executive Don Voelte told the annual shareholders'
meeting that earnings before interest and tax would be A$250
million for the first half of the financial year. That is down
from A$309 million a year earlier.
"As for advertising, we are still seeing downward
trajectories in a very thin market, but it does appear to be
stabilising at these lower levels of decline," said Voelte.
But investors focused on cost-cutting measures including
A$60 million in improved revenue and reduced expenses this
fiscal year, compared with Seven West's previous budget.
Voelte, former chief executive of Woodside Petroleum, took
over as head of Seven West in June.
The shares briefly traded up 21 percent, and were up 11.2
percent at A$1.29 at 0415 GMT.
Despite the jump, Seven West shares have fallen 61 percent
this year, in line with third-ranked Ten Network which
has lost 64 percent. Both have tapped shareholders for new funds
to cut debt.
Australia's second-ranked network, Nine Entertainment, fell
into the hands of its hedge fund lenders last month owing $3
billion in debt.