February 13, 2019 / 7:10 AM / 3 days ago

Schibsted writes down goodwill ahead of MPI spinoff

OSLO, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Norwegian media group Schibsted booked goodwill impairments of 617 million Norwegian crowns ($71.6 million) on Wednesday, primarily at subsidiaries in Chile and Sweden, triggering a net loss for the fourth quarter.

The company said it remains on track to list its non-Nordic online classified ads business (MPI) on the Oslo Bourse in April, a much-anticipated spin-off that is expected to see rapid growth in the years ahead.

Schibsted’s core profit, or earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), rose 29 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter to 897 million crowns, beating a forecast of 850 million in a Reuters poll of analysts.

Following the writedown however, the company’s net result swung to a loss for the quarter of 199 million crowns from a year-ago profit of 207 million. Analysts in the Reuters poll had on average expected a profit of 384 million crowns.

Schibsted’s board proposed raising the annual dividend to 2 crowns per share from 1.75 crowns for each of the last seven years, beating forecasts for 1.87 crowns. ($1 = 8.6137 Norwegian crowns) (Reporting by Terje Solsvik)

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