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Guardian Media’s first quarter profit was eroded by COVID-19, resulting in a loss of $6.8 million for the company in its second quarter ended June 30, according to unaudited results.

“In last year’s message, I shared your Company’s successes in improving our performance through enhancing sales and service capabilities, transforming our editorial relevance and appeal and strengthening leadership competencies at middle and senior management,” Peter Clarke said in the chairman’s statement.

“This has positioned the business to respond to the COVID-19 crisis with great agility. The health and safety of our employees, customers and the public remain our first priority during this period of global health and economic crises,” he stated.

For the three months ended June 30, 2020 Guardian Media generated revenues of $18.6 million.

Revenues for the first three months of the year were $28.3 million.

“As a result we incurred a loss of $6.8 million in the second quarter versus a profit of $1.3 million in the first quarter. This drastic decline in quarterly results was driven by loss of advertising revenues from non-essential businesses and stay-at-home orders in the second quarter,” Clarke stated.

Year-to-date revenues were $46.9 million down ten per cent from $52 million compared to the same period last year.

“Despite the unprecedented COVID-19 impact in 2020, we managed the year-over-year revenue loss to ten per cent on account of a strong first quarter sales performance and prior year investments to improving top line results,” Clarke stated.

“A year-to-date loss of $5.5 million was incurred versus a prior loss of $8.9 million,” he stated.

“Our focus on growing bottom-line results from costs savings initiatives and improving the efficiency and effectiveness of our operations contributed to a lower reported loss in 2020 versus the prior year. I am pleased to note that notwithstanding these results, balance sheet metrics remain healthy,” Clarke stated.

Clarke said the company has continued its business continuity plans with work-from-home arrangements put in place for a substantial number of employees.

“In times of emergency, media is an essential business and has a critical role to play in serving our communities. We salute our employees for their courageous and non-stop efforts to keep people informed, healthy and safe through the airing of public service announcements, educational programming and expanded local news coverage,” he stated.

Clarke said because of the uncertainty caused by COVID-19 means it is is not possible to predict the impact of the pandemic on the company’s full year results.

“Given the loss position and the uncertainties amid the COVID-19 pandemic, your Directors have not recommended a 2020 interim dividend payment in respect of the six months ended 30 June 2020,” he stated.

Six per cent Preference Shareholders will receive an interim dividend of three per cent, he stated.

“In these uncharted times, I want to express my thanks to all our employees for their loyalty and commitment. I would also like to acknowledge the support of our Shareholders, Clients, Advertising Partners and Directors during this difficult period,” Clarke stated.