APN News & Media Posts Record Profit

APN News & Media yesterday posted a record net profit of A$103.5 million ($77.62m; €63.92m; £42.41m), delivering on its promised growth of at least 10% for the year.
    But the radio broadcaster and publisher -- 43.7% owned by Irish entrepreneur Sir Anthony O'Reilly -- was less forthcoming about its outlook, saying only that trading in 2004 had started well.
    Net profit for the twelve months to December 31 rose 15%, on an 8.9% rise in group revenue to $1.17 billion.
    "Trading in 2004 has once again started positively and, given a continuation of current trading conditions, the board remains confident of a meaningful improvement in profitability for the 2004 year," chief executive officer Brendan Hopkins said.
Data sourced from: Sydney Morning Herald; additional content by WARC staff

Private Sector Growth Rate Slowed in February

The Reuters Eurozone Purchasing Managers Composite Output Index, compiled by NTC Research, recorded 55.4 in February to indicate an increase in manufacturing and service sector output for the seventh successive month.
    However, the index fell from 56.2 in January to signal an easing in the rate of growth. Manufacturing output rose for the sixth straight month, while services activity increased for the eighth month.
    The data are currently based on the results of surveys carried out in Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Austria, Ireland, Greece and the Netherlands (plus UK for the EU data), covering over 5,500 manufacturing and services companies.
Data sourced from: NTC Research; additional content by WARC staff

Interbrew-Ambev to Form Globe's Largest Brewer

Brazil's AmBev and Belgium's Interbrew on Wednesday announced a merger that could displace Anheuser-Busch as the world's largest brewer by volume.
    The transaction, involving the world's third and fifth largest brewers, will create InterbrewAmBev, a company with a combined market capitalization of more than $20 billion.
    It would have a global market share of about 14% and annual revenue of €9.5 billion ($11.9 billion), the companies said. The hybrid will aim "to leverage three global flagship brands -- Stella Artois, Beck's and Brahma -- while further strengthening specialty and local brands."
Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff

Unilever's Fitzgerald to Chair Reuters

News and information group Reuters announced that Unilever's retiring chairman Niall FitzGerald will become its new chairman later this year.
    FitzGerald, thirty-seven years at Unilever and a non-executive director of Reuters since January of last year, will take up the role in October.
    He will take over from Sir Christopher Hogg, who announced his intention to step down last year.
    Reuters ceo Tom Glocer addressed the usual eulogies to the departing incumbent, adding: "I am delighted that he will be succeeded by an international business leader of such standing. All of us at Reuters are excited about Niall's appointment."
Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff

Cablevision Posts Q4 Loss, Warns of Restatement

Cablevision Systems Corporation revealed Tuesday it had swung to a loss in the fourth quarter despite a 12% increase in revenue. It also warned of a larger restatement of results going back to 2000.
    The nation's sixth-largest cable operator said that for the three months ended December 31, it recorded a loss of $197.4 million (€162.30m; £107.70m), or 69 cents a share.
    That's a sharp reversal from the previous year's Q4 net income of $529.8m ($1.66 a share) which included income from operations now discontinued .
    In the latest quarter, revenue rose to $1.23 billion from $1.1 billion.
Data sourced from: The Washington Post Online; additional content by WARC staff

Car and Light Truck Sales Increase 4.8%

Car and light-truck sales rose 4.8% last month against a weak year-earlier comparison, bettering expectations as a stronger economy drew more buyers to car lots. Major Japanese auto makers outperformed the overall market and Detroit's Big Three.
    Lifted by strong truck and luxury vehicle sales, US car and light-truck sales totaled 1,277,705 vehicles, according to research firm Autodata.
    The February figure projects to a seasonally adjusted annual sales total of 16.4 million vehicles, above the sluggish 15.6m projected in February 2003.
Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff

Senate Democrats Aim to Restore Media Bill Limits

Democrats in the US Senate will try to impose more restrictive rules on how many TV stations a company can own.
    Minority Leader Tom Daschle (Democrat, South Dakota), said Tuesday that his party would try to add a provision that limits companies to owning TV stations that reach 35% of the viewing public, down from the 39% compromise in the spending bill approved by Congress in January.
    Daschle told the annual legislative conference of the National Association of Broadcasters that Senate Democrats will attempt to amend an unspecified piece of legislation to roll back the cap.
    He would also try to reverse other media ownership rules adopted last year by the Federal Communications Commission, including a provision that allows companies to own newspapers and broadcast stations in the same community.
    "We have to reduce the concentration of ownership," Daschle said.
Data sourced from: The Washington Post Online; additional content by WARC staff

Data sourced from multiple origins; additional content by WARC staff