Ovato's newest loss is papers' fault, says Slaven

Heatset printer Ovato - formerly PMP - has put the blame for another bad year's results on Australian newspapers.

Chief executive Kevin Slaven said its volumes had been impacted by print sharing arrangements between Nine and News Corp, while "the collapse in the newspaper real estate business" had hit paginations and circulations. .

In an interview with Print 21's Wayne Robinson, he said the company had gone back into the red in its 2019 financial year because of soft conditions in retail, the "exit" of real estate from suburban newspapers, and a damaging price war in New Zealand.

Sales fell 8.8 per cent, with the outcome an EBITDA of $30.8 million - almost a quarter down on last year - on sales which fell $64.7 million to $669.2 million. The result was a slide from last year's $1.1 million net profit to a $4.4 million net loss.

Slaven told Robinson there were however, "plenty of positive signs"with retail catalogues for grocery, food, beverage travelling well.

Plans to close its Moorebank factory in Sydney will see NSW operations fully moved to Warwick Farm, with a complete transition - including a new press and other equipment - by the end of the year on track.

He said the transition fully operational bringing efficiencies, and a positive looking second half.

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