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PBL Profits Rise; Nine Exec Quits

Kerry Packer’s Publishing & Broadcasting Ltd. (PBL) reported a 44.9% rise in profits after tax to $A70.3 ($52 million) for the half year to December 1994, but warned shareholders’ growth would slow in the remaining half of the financial year.

PBL was formed in October when Packer merged his Nine Network and magazine empire Australian Consolidated Press (ACP). The results cover six-month figures for Nine and two months for ACP.

The results were posted as Nine Network executive chairman Bruce Gyngell resigned after less than two years in the job. He had been installed to restore profit to the network after the roller-coaster ’80s.

Observers believe Gyngell’s role became redundant after the PBL merger, in which Packer became chairman of the group and elevated the responsibilities of Nine managing director David Leckie, leaving Gyngell without clear authority.

Gyngell has been tipped to become head of British commercial station Yorkshire Tyne Tees TV, although Packer has indicated Gyngell will continue as chairman of the international arm of the Nine Network.

Nine was the powerhouse of the results, with revenues growing by 7.8% to $A336.9 million ($249.3 million) yielding a before tax profit jump of 27% to $A92.3 million ($68.3 million) – despite a $A5 mil ($3.7 million) loss on the Winter Olympics.

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