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NAIROBI, Aug 28 (Reuters) - Kenya’s Nation Media Group said its pretax profit fell 24% in the first half of this year, hurt by slowing turnover due to falling advertising revenue.
The biggest news publisher in East Africa, with newspapers, radio and television stations in Kenya as well as Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania, said profit fell to 580.8 million shillings ($5.6 million) in the first half of 2019.
It said overall turnover fell to 4.58 billion shillings in the six months to end June from 4.93 billion shillings in first half of 2018, due to weaker advertising spend.
“It has been a very painful experience for most organisations. Most organisations are struggling. Some of these are our advertisers,” said finance director Richard Tobiko.
Tobiko added that the high cost of paper also took its toll.
Last year’s first half pretax profit dropped 35%, with Nation Media saying it was affected by a 292 million shilling provision for overdue debt, some owed by the government.
Kenya’s economic growth slowed in the first quarter compared with the same period in 2018, as a drought hurt the farming industry, the statistics office said.
The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics said the economy grew 5.6% year-on-year from 6.5% in the same quarter last year.
“Our fortunes are linked at the hip with the economy,” said Nation Media’s chairman Wilfred Kiboro. ($1 = 103.2000 Kenyan shillings) (Reporting by George Obulutsa; editing by Elias Biryabarema and Louise Heavens)