The Nine Entertainment Company reported a full-year net profit of $92.5 million on Friday, a significant increase on the $912.8 million loss the previous financial year.
The company was aided by a $124.2 million upward adjustment in the value of its assets to offset a decline in revenue, increased costs, and the interest burden of more than $4 billion in debt.
An advertising market, which industry expects to grow 10 per cent to more than $12 billion by year's end, is believed to have helped the company after it slumped a record 8 per cent in 2009.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Nine Entertainment's earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of $406 million narrowly covered last year's debt finance costs of $400.5 million.
Despite encouraging returns for the groups' television interests, its magazine mastheads and licences business ACP Magazines has struggled in comparison, posting an impairment loss of $512 million.
The publisher is Australia's largest printing house of women's titles, the segment which attracts the bulk of advertsing dollars, and is facing declining circulation numbers and revenue, as well as flat readership for some of its biggest titles.
Meanwhile, the Nine Network increased the value of its television licences by $675 million, which reflected ongoing growth in the free-to-air advertising market.
Nine recorded the greatest growth this year among the commercial free-to-air networks, with its combined primetime audience including digital multichannels growing 9 per cent year-on-year. Additionally, the main channel positioned itself as number one in the key 18-49 and 25-54 advertising demographics, while it also collected the 16-39 demographic on combined shares.
The $2.9 billion metropolitan advertising market is expected to finish the year up 13 per cent. Nine, which owns the three east coast stations (TCN9 Sydney, GTV9 Melbourne and QTQ9 Brisbane), is set to finish the year with a 33 per cent share of that market. The network has predicted a 2 per cent boost next year, to a 35 per cent market share for its three channels combined.
Folllowing the elevation of David Gyngell as chief executive last month, PBL Media rebranded itself as the Nine Entertainment Company last week. The move created four integrated divisions; television, magazines (ACP Magazines), digital (Ninemsn, Carsales, Cudo and Sky News), and events (Ticketek and Acer Arena).
Private equity firm CVC Asia Pacific purchased the company via a number of transactions between 2006 and 2008, from James Packer and his investment company Consolidated Media Holdings. CVC is expected to list Nine Entertainment in a stock market float early next year, predicted to be worth upwards of $5 billion.
Media Spy discussion: Nine Entertainment Company