Craig Hutchison has been calming the nerves of his staff, investors and his SEN audience this week. The moves come after an article in the Herald Sun a week ago headlined: Craig Hutchison’s business woes after $9.2m loss.
The article started with:
Football big wig Craig Hutchison’s company is at risk of the Commonwealth Bank calling in a $28 million loan that underwrites his SEN radio network, the Perth Wildcats and a Super Netball league team.
His company Sports Entertainment Group posted a $9.2 million loss in the year to June 30.
Staff at SEN, where Hutchison is chief executive of the business, were assured by the boss that all was well shortly after the article appeared. However, some listeners were perplexed. One called the SEN Melbourne’s drive show hosted by Andy Maher and Andrew Gaze and expressed relief when someone actually answered the phone. “I was a little bit worried,” said the caller, referring to the newspaper item.
Hutchison first addressed the issues raised by the Herald Sun in his Saturday radio show Off the Bench he co-hosts with Liam Pickering.
Then this week, on the The Sounding Board podcast he hosts with Damian Barrett, he went into more detail.
When asked by Barrett to deal with the specific inaccuracies of the Herald Sun report, Hutchison started:
“We made $4.8m profit EBITDA. There were some markdowns and impairment of assets that created a paper loss. We have made money every year. We haven’t had a year where we haven’t made money. Would we have liked to have made more? Yes. It is my job to make more for our shareholders per annum? Yes.
“This was the last year of our audio build and our radio build in conjunction with our stakeholders to finish the job we set out to do five years ago.
“We have been playing a long game on asset, as opposed to a short-term game on earnings. That job is finished and we have no more audio stations to buy or build. We have a two-country platform that will serve us well.”
When asked if SEN was a deal away, or a day away, from going under, Hutchison replied:
“Goodness. We are in fantastic health. We have made money and built at the same time.”
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