Next Media was founded by high profile businessman Jimmy Lai, known for his support for democracy and criticism of China. It introduced tabloid-style journalism into Hong Kong and Taiwan, with the hugely successful Apple Daily. The group made a rare misstep by entering Taiwan’s saturated broadcasting market. In October 2012 it agreed to sell its loss-making Taiwan TV unit and to terminate its video-on-demand (VOD) services, but the deal fell through in March 2013.
Next Media warns of 'substantially' bigger loss
Next Media, which publishes the local Chinese-language newspaper Apple Daily News, expects a substantial increase in losses for the year to the end of March.
The group, controlled by Jimmy Lai Chee-ying, reported losses of HK$188.63 million in the fiscal year to the end of March 2012, and a deficit of HK$19.73 million in 2011. Based on its results for continuing operations, this loss was HK$973 million for the 2012 fiscal year, against a profit of HK$9.6 million in 2011.
In a stock exchange filing, the firm said it expected the losses would widen substantially in the latest fiscal year to the end of March, mainly due to the operating losses incurred for the group's Taiwanese television and multimedia operations and its Hong Kong free newspaper Sharp Daily.
The increased loss was also a result of further write-offs and impairment made for certain assets and equipment at its Taiwanese television operation on the island, the company said.
In December, Next Media reported losses for the six months to September of HK$928.39 million, almost triple the HK$324.02 million in the period last year.
The group last month said it planned to sell its Taiwanese television unit to Taiwanese media group ERA Communications chairman Lien Tai-sheng for HK$362.8 million.