APN down 4c after board exodus

APN News and Media's share price fell by 4c (11.1 per cent) to 32c on light volume when New Zealand share trading resumed today after the resignation of the chief executive and several directors late yesterday.

The dual-listed stock went into a trading halt last week while the company sorted out its internal ructions and considered a major capital raising excercise.

Brokers said it would not be until 12 noon NZ time, when share trading in Australia starts, that investors will get a true gauge of the market's reaction.

Last night, Ireland's Independent News & Media was successful ousting half the APN board, as well as putting a stop to a planned capital raising by the company.

Chief executive Brett Chenoweth, chairman Peter Hunt and directors Melinda Conrad, John Harvey and John Maasland leave the company today.

Independent director Kevin Luscombe will retire in April, as previously planned, APN said.

The departing directors believed that a capital raising should be undertaken when the Australia-based publisher and broadcaster, which publishes the New Zealand Herald, announces its annual results on Thursday.

"Independent News & Media plc and its major shareholder together with [fund management company] Allan Gray representing approximately 51 per cent of APN's shares have unequivocally indicated they are opposed to a capital raising at the present time," the company said in a statement on Monday.

The debt-laden Independent News & Media, owns 28.95 per cent of APN, is in the throes of selling its South African assets.

Equities research company, Morningstar, issued an "avoid" recommendation on the stock.

"Traditional media faces structural challenges from online competition, although it remains to be seen how much damage will be done to the revenue streams of APN's newspaper assets," Morningstar said in a research note.

 

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