Southern Cross Media share price wobbles despite 85% FY22 dividend boost

The company has decided to hold onto its television assets.

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Key points

  • The Southern Cross Media share price is seeking direction 
  • Revenues were down 1.8% year on year 
  • The full-year dividend increased by 85% 

The Southern Cross Media Group Ltd (ASX: SXL) share price is seeking direction today, initially posting a 1.8% gain and currently down 0.4%.

The All Ordinaries Index (ASX: XAO) is also in the red today, down 0.9% at this same time.

Shares in the ASX listed media provider closed on Friday trading at $1.17 and are now at $1.16. This comes as investors pore over the company's full-year results for the 12 months ending 30 June (FY22).

Southern Cross Media share price wobbles despite dividend boost

(* Note, underlying expenses and underlying EBITDA exclude government grants received in FY21 and FY22, impairment charges of $179.4 million and $4.0 million of other significant items in FY22.)

What else happened during the year?

The Southern Cross Media share price should be getting some extra lift from the 4.75 cents fully franked final dividend the board declared. That represents 85% of NPAT (excluding significant items), coming in at the top of the company's policy of paying dividends of 65% to 85% of NPAT.

As at 30 June, Southern Cross had net debt of $78.5 million, down from $52.6 million at the end of FY21. The media company reported leverage of 0.95 times EBITDA, noting that's "well below" its covenant of 3.50 times.

FY22 saw a continuing recovery in all of its audio segments, with audio revenue of $392.9 million increasing 9.2% year on year.

Southern Cross Media also saw improved margins from its television segment in the wake of its affiliation switch from Nine to Network 10. Television's underlying EBITDA margin rose from 17.6% to 23.7%.

A strategic review has now concluded shareholder value will be maximised by continuing to hold its television assets.

What did management say?

Commenting on the results, Southern Cross Media CEO, Grant Blackley said:

With a robust balance sheet and strong cashflow, we are continuing to invest for the future while returning funds to shareholders through fully franked dividends and our on-market share buy-back.

Commercial radio audiences in metro markets reached record levels in recent surveys. The total audience of 12 million recorded in GfK Survey 4 was the highest ever and a 7.6% jump over the prior year. SCA's Hit and Triple M stations have led this rise as audiences return to entertainment and music formats.

With a nod to some headwinds over the year, Blackley added, "Local advertisers were directly affected by floods and supply chain issues resulting in lower levels of growth in local advertising."

What's next?

Looking ahead, Blackley said:

SCA has completed a five-year program to install digital operating infrastructure across all offices and every asset. This allows SCA to distribute our premium content from any location to audiences at a time and on a device on their choice…

Our investment in a fully owned and operated digital audio ecosystem, LiSTNR, also positions SCA to take a leading share of the rapidly expanding Australian digital audio market.

Southern Cross Media share price snapshot

The Southern Cross Media share price has struggled this year, down 40% since the opening bell of 4 January. By comparison, the All Ordinaries has lost 8% year-to-date.

Motley Fool contributor Bernd Struben has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. 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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