Big profit fall for Southern Cross

Broadcaster Southern Cross Media Group's first half profit has slumped 52 per cent during what the company says is one of its most difficult periods.

Southern Cross made a net profit of $45.1 million in the six months to December 31, down from $94 million in the previous corresponding period.

The profit fall was partly due to a $40 million tax benefit in the previous corresponding period from the company's acquisition of the Austereo radio business which owns stations including Sydney's 2DAYFM and the Triple M network.

Southern Cross also operates regional television and ONE HD.

Its revenue was also lower in the six months to December, down 10 per cent from the previous corresponding period to $327.7 million.

"We have had one of the most difficult 12 months in our history," chief executive Rhys Holleran said in a statement, in reference to weak advertising markets.

But, he said, the company had beaten its previous forecasts with an underlying profit, which excludes one-off financial items, of $47.6 million.

"We are well-positioned to take advantage of any upturn in advertising markets," Mr Holleran said.

"Sentiment is on the improve in advertising circles and our talented and dedicated staff are fine-tuned and ready to respond."

Advertisers pulled content from 2DAYFM during the first half of the financial year, due to a prank call to a London hospital where the Duchess of Cambridge was receiving treatment.

The company declared a fully-franked interim dividend of 4.5 cents per share.

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