Canadian firm suspends semi-annual dividend
TORONTO — CanWest Global Communications is axing 120 staff members from the National Post newspaper and cutting costs by suspending its semi-annual dividend.
Winnipeg-based firm wants to reduce corporate debt accumulated over the past few years after buying a handful of WIC Television stations and most of Southam’s newspaper interests across Canada, including the National Post. The suspension of the dividend is expected to save the company C$53 million ($33.8 million).
The layoffs at the money-losing National Post are part of a campaign to give the paper “renewed focus on its core strengths.” Saturday Night magazine will no longer publish, but much of its content will be rolled into the regular newspaper.
“Decisive and swift action was needed to ensure the long-term viability of the newspaper,” said CanWest prexy and CEO Leonard Asper.
CanWest recently sold its 70% interest in CFCF TV Montreal. Net proceeds of about $57.3 million will also go toward the company’s debt, as will a further $79.6 million expected to come in from CanWest’s sale of CKVU-TV Vancouver.