COVID-19 crisis forces SCA into ‘immediate’ trading halt on ASX

Publisher & Editor

Southern Cross Austereo has gone into a trading halt.

Shares in the radio, television and digital business are down 32.65% to 16 cents at 1pm today.

In a market announce at 1pm on Monday (March 23), SCA requested the trading halt of its ordinary shares with immediate effect.

SCA said the trading halt is necessary to enable the company to asses the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on its business, “and to make an announcement to inform the market about those impacts, and the actions being taken by SCA to address them”.

As one insider told Radio Today, “It’s the fitness of the organisation and the quality of the management that is going to prevail at this point of time, as far as business is concerned.”

Recent bushfires, the worsening spread of the coronavirus and an already weak advertising market have put a significant strain on the media industry.

Pacific Star Network, which controls Crocmedia and 1116 SEN, also stopped trading on the ASX last Wednesday due to the impact of the coronavirus.

The Australian share market is in freefall today, spiralling towards its second-worst day since the 1987 crash as investors react to the global pandemic.

Both SCA, Pacific Star Network and Nine Entertainment will also each take a hit after the AFL season was officially put on hiatus over the weekend.

Shares in Nine, born from the $4 billion merger with Fairfax Media in December 2018, are down 11.46% to 85 cents at 1pm today.

Nine also withdrew its profit guidance last Thursday, telling shareholders that the future ad market is becoming increasingly difficult to predict.

Shares in Here, There & Everywhere, formerly known as APN News & Media, and who own and operate Australian Radio Network, are also shakey.

Its shares are flat at $1.05 at 1pm today, propped up somewhat by a share buyback.

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