Opus warns the market that earnings will slump 37.5%

The diversified printing group forecast in November that first-half underlying earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) would be $9 million.

The group's latest trading update said underlying EBITDA for the six months to 31 December 2012 was expected to be $7.5 million – a 37.5% year-on-year decline.

First-half revenue is forecast to suffer a 13.3% year-on-year decline from $69.3 million to $60.1 million.

Net debt climbed from $62.8 million to $63.7 million during the first half of 2012-13.

Chief executive Cliff Brigstocke told ProPrint that Opus still expected to return to profit in 2012-13 after posting a $1.8 million loss in 2011-12.

Opus said the "strong financial performance" of its Singapore arm, COS Printers, had helped offset the below-forecast performance of its Australian publishing division.

Brigstocke said Opus had taken advantage of the group's scale and diversity to win a "large volume" of work for Singapore.

[Photos: Opus makes ASX debut]

"Opus has been successful in selling a group offer. In this case, we have won business for large Australian publishers that were having their longer runs printed in China," he told ProPrint.

"Our offer includes lower-cost production at COS combined with local print-on-demand, mainly utilising our inkjet solution."

Opus' outdoor division reported a year-on-year decline for December, which Opus said was in line with market conditions.

The Australian publishing division had a weaker November and December than forecast, which Opus attributed to difficult market conditions and reduced government print spent.

Little improvement is expected this calendar year, said Brigstocke.

"Government, we believe, will remain tight given their expenditure restrictions, out-of-home is forecast to grow and the general publishing market we believe will remain tight," he told ProPrint.

Opus spent $3 million on restructuring in H1, which is expected to produce an improved performance in H2.

Brigstocke said the group was considering further "non-core asset sales" after raising more than $11 million through recent sales.

[Related: Ups and downs of Opus]

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One thought on “Opus warns the market that earnings will slump 37.5%

  1. I note that this has now happened and that the OPUS shares have plummeted to $0.16 cents giving a market capitalisation of $7,514,945, carrying a debt of around $66,000,000, a ratio of nearly 9 times. Some of those covenants must be getting close now, so I bet the Bank is on the phone…

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