Co. $44 mil in the red for financial year through June 30

SYDNEY — Australia’s biggest entertainment company, Publishing & Broadcasting Ltd., has posted a loss of A$84.6 million ($44 million) for the financial year through June 30.

That’s a reversal from the $168 million profit the previous year for the group that owns the Nine television network, leading magazine publisher Consolidated Press and Melbourne’s Crown Casino.

Investment writedowns of $206.5 million accounted for the company’s involvement in failed fledgling telco One.Tel. PBL also was hit by lower advertising revenues at Nine during the Sydney Olympic Games, which were broadcast on rival Seven; a general slowdown in the TV advertising market; disruptions caused by demonstrations against the World Economic Forum held at Crown Casino last September; the impact on magazine distribution caused by the introduction of a 10% tax in July 2000; and increased paper costs due to the falling Australian dollar.

PBL CEO Peter Yates told investors the company’s short-term focus was on consolidating and expanding its core business after a period of rapid growth.

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