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Why this ASX media share tumbled lower today

The HT&E Ltd (ASX: HT1) share price finished 2.96% lower today after the media company released its full-year 2019 results.

However, it should be pointed out that this drop was fairly much in line with the performance of the broader ASX market today which saw the S&P/ASX 200 Index (INDEXASX: XJO) close 2.25% lower.

HT&E, formerly APN News and Media Limited, is a media, entertainment and technology company that operates radio, audio and digital businesses in Australia as well as outdoor assets in Hong Kong.

What did HT&E report?

HT&E reported revenue before finance income of $252.7 million for the full year to 31 December 2019, down from $271.8 million in the prior year of 2018.

Underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) came in at $75.6 million, slightly up on the $71.8 million generated during calendar year 2018. Meanwhile, underlying earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) was $56.9 million for the period, down from $67.2 million in FY18.

HT&E commented that its balance sheet remains very strong with net cash of $111 million and $250 million worth of undrawn debt on its books as at 31 December 2019.

The company further commented that its Australian Radio Network (ARN) retained its number 1 metropolitan network rating in Australia and was successfully able to grow its commercial market share in the final quarter of 2019.

This result was achieved in a challenging media market that impacted revenue and earnings, with the Australian metro radio sector as a whole declining by 6.2% compared to the prior year.

Trading update and FY20 outlook

HT&E noted that in radio, market trading conditions observed in January this year were consistent with what it had witnessed in the second half of 2019. The company reported that its ratings remain ahead of the market with mid-single-digit declines.

HT&E continues to maintain a strong stance on cost management as it will continue to assess market conditions. In Hong Kong, during January 2020, HT&E observed some recovery from the declines it had witnessed in the previous half.

The company further commented that no bookings had been cancelled to date due to the coronavirus as the impact of the outbreak continues to be assessed.

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Motley Fool contributor Phil Harpur has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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