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Rinehart undecided on Ten capital raising


Mining billionaire Gina Rinehart is keeping the Ten Network guessing on whether she'll take part in the troubled broadcaster's $230 million capital raising.

Ten announced plans for its second capital raising within six months on Thursday, just hours ahead of its annual meeting for shareholders.

It also plans to start wielding its cost cutting axe again.

While three of the network's big four shareholders - chairman Lachlan Murdoch, James Packer and Bruce Gordon - will take up their full entitlement of shares in the capital raising, Mrs Rinehart is yet to make up her mind.

Asked by reporters after the meeting if she would take part, the billionaire, who owns 10 per cent of Ten and sits on the board, said she would make up her mind on Friday.

She also criticised Ten, saying the network should have been more prompt in reducing costs during the past two years.

"I think we could have done more there and obviously we are not doing well enough yet with our programming," she said.

"So these are things that I hope we will see some more improvements on."

Mrs Rinehart was a late arrival at the meeting, with a Sydney traffic jam delaying her from taking her seat alongside her fellow directors by 40 minutes.

Her arrival was greeted by applause by shareholders, who had been hearing Mr Murdoch explain how Ten had been hurt by its botched 2012 program schedule and shrinking share of the TV advertising market.

"Our execution of many of our new shows was exceedingly poor and this poor performance was further exacerbated by a rapidly declining advertising market, particularly in the last few months," he said.

Mr Murdoch, who attended the meeting despite the death of his grandmother Dame Elisabeth Murdoch overnight, said Ten was continuing to lose market share during the first three months of its fiscal 2013.

Ten's share of revenue of the metropolitan television advertising market had fallen to historic lows after the London Olympics, he said.

Figures from advertising measurement company SMI showed Ten had 21 per cent of the total market in October, a long way from its 30 per cent target and well behind Nine and Seven.

But Ten is banking on the return of a "refreshed" MasterChef and The Biggest Loser, new shows such as cooking series Recipe to Riches, Batavia and Australian drama Reef Doctors to improve ratings in 2013 and win back advertisers.

"Creating a schedule with consistency for viewers and advertisers is critical to Ten's success," chief executive James Warburton said.

"For next year, we have a clear, 40-week plan and a consistent, clearly targeted program schedule."

Ten's poor financial performance has forced it into a second capital raising, which is fully underwritten and will help pay down debt.

Shares will be offered at 20 cents each, a steep discount to Ten's last traded price of 32.5 cents.

Ten will also undertake a fresh round of cost cuts to its programming, administration, and news and operations divisions.

The cuts aim to save $35 million in fiscal 2013 and bring annual costs down to $560 million.

Ten cut 100 newsroom jobs in November.

The network slumped to a $12.9 million full year loss in fiscal 2012, with revenue tumbling 13.7 per cent.