While the Canadian newspaper industry hasn't been struggling as much as it has in the U.S., CanWest, Canada's largest newspaper publisher, has nevertheless found itself facing a set of troubles equal to its counterparts on the other side of the border. The Winnipeg, Manitoba-based media company posted a significantly wider loss of C$1.44 billion (USD$1.17 billion) for Q2 as revenues slid 9.1 percent to C$637 million (USD$519 million). The net loss was attributed to a USD$970 million write-down of goodwill, intangible assets and property and equipment83 percent which was tied to Canwest's Publishing operations. Last year, Canwest's loss was only C$34 million (USD$27.7 million).
Crisis continues: Last month, Canwest, which also owns the Global Television Network and reaches about 95 percent of that country's English-speaking population, was able to get waivers on USD$241 million in debt that was due by the end of February. Despite that breather, the company is wrestling with USD$3 billion in total debt. But now, Canwest is staring at a USD$30.4 million interest payment on its 8 percent senior subordinated notes. It's already missed one payment. If it fails to make it by April 14, the noteholders can demand payment of about USD$761 million of principal, Reuters points out. As the company's stock has declined by 90 percent over the past yearit was down 4.76 percent to $0.30 by mid-morningthe company has tried the usual methods of trying to get costs under control. Last November, it laid off 560 employees at its newspaper and television properties, which barely dented its mounting financial problems, which could lead to a loss of control for the founding Asper family.
By David Kaplan