Friday, February 15 10:08:49
Independent News and Media today said that it is seeking the removal of Brett Chenoweth as Director and CEO of Australian and New Zealand publishers, APN News and Media, in which INM holds a 28.95pc shareholding.
The Irish media group said it has lost confidence in Mr Chenoweth's ability to implement the strategic initiatives necessary to reposition APN for the more challenged media landscape that has emerged in Australasia.
"Notwithstanding its market leading positions APN has underperformed as evidenced by a near halving of APN's interim profits in the period from H1 2010 to H1 2012 (most recent earnings report). INM has formally advised APN of its views and it is seeking an Extraordinary General Meeting to facilitate all APN shareholders in expressing their views on this important matter," an INM statement said this morning.
In a short statement to the Australian Stock Exchange, APN News and Media said: "APN is investigating these comments, but believes these comments arise from the fact that APN is considering a pro rata capital raising, in respect of which it is being advised by Macquarie Capital (Australia)."
APN News said the non-INM representative directors of APN unanimously supported Chenoweth and the strategy being implemented under his leadership.
The company said the reason for the trading halt is to prevent trading taking place in a speculative or uninformed market while APN investigates INM's comments and completes its deliberations about a potential capital raising.
It said the trading halt will remain in place until February 19.
Allan Gray Australia has 19.8 per cent of APN News.
APN's shares last traded at A30c, having traded in a wide A24.5c to A96c range over the last 52 weeks.
In an earnings update released last December, APN News said its second half net profit would be affected by the deterioration of publishing revenue in Australia.
"Publishing in both Australia and New Zealand has seen weaker market conditions than in H1, with APN's publishing revenue in H2 down by 10 per cent," it said then.