The Times Media Group's offices in Rosebank. File picture: Nicholas Rama

Johannesburg – Malta incorporated Tiso Blackstar Group, which owns Times Media, says turnover gained to R4.5 billion from R4.3 billion in the first half.

In the six months to December, the company made “significant progress” in the implementation of new strategy as a media-focussed business, which includes renaming Times Media Group to Tiso Blackstar Group.

The acquisition finance for Times Media has dropped from R730 million to R669 million, it says.

The deal was completed in 2015.

The company, which now consolidates its figures as it’s no longer an investment holding company, adds it expects its sale of 22.9 percent in Kagiso Tiso, for R1.5 billion, should close in May.

Tiso notes its earnings before interest tax depreciation and amortisation moved to R270 million from R249 million.

The company declared an interim dividend of 4.47275 cents a share, and proposes special dividend of R40 million when the Kagiso sale is successfully completed.

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Tiso, which will be moving to the JSE’s main board, operates newspaper, broadcast, digital and mobile properties focused on providing quality content and services to its varied audiences. It says it has strong exposure to the rapidly growing digital, broadcast and mobile markets, with a position in South Africa and a broad footprint across Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria.

It notes cost reductions and restructuring aided its media business in growing earnings before interest, tax, deprecation and amortisation 6.2 percent to R91.8 million, while its traditional media boosted that measure 16.7 percent to R86.9 million.

It has recently implemented a paywall on premium titles.

“The combination of cost reductions and the introduction of new innovative revenue streams helped drive significant growth in earnings in flagship titles such as Sunday Times and Business Day, while magazines, supplements, events, digital and mobile all helped broaden the revenue base.”

Its majority-held investment Smartcall Technology Solutions grew revenues 34 percent and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation 61.2 percent, it says.

Tiso says it has laid a solid foundation for sustainable growth, with new diversified revenues and stabilised core businesses well set to take advantage of any improvements in the South African economy.