TORONTO — Postmedia said Thursday it plans to reduce its salary costs by 20 per cent through voluntary staff buyouts, adding that layoffs are possible if its target isn’t met, as the media company announced its net loss for its most recent quarter nearly doubled.
The company says staff have until Nov. 8 to apply for the buyouts. The cuts will come from all levels and operations in the company.
Postmedia announced the cost-cutting measure as it reported a fourth-quarter loss of $99.4 million or 35 cents per diluted share. That compared with a loss of $54.1 million or 19 cents per diluted share for the same period a year ago. Revenue for the quarter ended Aug. 21 totalled $198.7 million, down from $230.2 million.
For its full financial year, the company, which owns multiple newspapers, said it lost $352.5 million or $1.25 per share on $877.2 million in revenue. That compared with a loss of $263.4 million or $1.98 per diluted share on $750.3 million in revenue in the previous year.
The newspaper industry has struggled with declining ad revenues for years.
In January, Postmedia cut 90 jobs and merged newsrooms in four cities, but maintained separate newspapers in each location following its acquisition of Sun Media’s English-language newspapers and digital properties last year.
It had been grappling with how to tackle its $648-million-dollar debt and those layoffs were part of cost-cutting measures.
The company aimed to reduce its annual operating expenses by $80 million. Postmedia said it is just $5 million shy of reaching that goal, which it expects to do by the end of the first quarter of its 2017 financial year.
In July, the company announced a debt-restructuring plan that would see its total amount owed slashed by nearly half. The Ontario Superior Court as well as the company’s shareholders and debt holders approved the plan last month.
However, CEO Paul Godfrey told analysts and the media when the plan was announced that the company still had work to do to operate in a challenging industry — a sentiment he echoed in the company Thursday.
Godfrey said the company sees “some hopeful signs in our newer revenue initiatives.”
This year, the company struck deals with two fintech companies, Agility Forex Ltd. and Mogo Finance Technology Inc., for revenue in exchange for ad space. This past quarter, Postmedia’s digital revenue increased 0.8 per cent.
Godfrey said that Postmedia “will continue to transform our business to address the industry disruption.”