Times Media to Expand TV and Radio Output in Africa Growth Plan

Times Media Group Ltd., a South African publisher, will start a new television station and seek growth opportunities in southern and west Africa as it begins to rejig its portfolio to boost profit.

“We see our T.V. side as our growth side, so we’re going to be investing and developing new channels because they are profitable,” Chief Executive Officer Andrew Bonamour, 42, said today in a telephone interview. A channel being developed with satellite provider DSTV will “launch soon,” he said.

Times Media bought the 50 percent of newspaper producer BDFM Publishers Ltd. it didn’t already own from Financial Times-owner Pearson Plc in April. It publishes South African newspapers Business Day and The Sunday Times. The Johannesburg-based company may also start a new radio station within the next month, according to Bonamour.

Times Media will aim to raise “hundreds of millions” of rand from the sale of assets no longer deemed part of the company’s business model, Bonamour said. These include cinema division Nu Metro and retail chain Exclusive Books.

“Times Media over the last decade lost its way a bit and invested in non-core assets where they didn’t have expertise,” said Bonamour, who became CEO in January. “We’re hoping the stuff that we’re disposing of is not going to have a massive impact on our earnings. We will generate quite a bit from the sales.”

The company plans to pay its first dividend since 2009, Bonamour said, without giving further details. Its shares have gained 37 percent this year, compared with a 3.7 percent rise in the FTSE/JSE Africa All Share Index.

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