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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 August 2005, 06:39 GMT 07:39 UK
Tough times for Packer's TV arm
Kerry Packer
Mr Packer is developing gambling interests in Macau
Australian media magnate Kerry Packer's firm Publishing Broadcasting has warned of tough times for its TV interests as it reported full-year results.

Mr Packer, who is Australia's richest man, said PBL's Nine Network lost market share as costs grew 8.8%.

But the company benefited from double-digit profits growth at its casino and magazine businesses.

Bottomline net profits fell to 480.1m Australian dollars ($364m; 296m euros), from A$668.1m a year ago.

Ratings slip

PBL, which is developing casinos in gambling haven Macau with tycoon Stanley Ho, said revenues for the year ended 30 June rose 10.9% to A$3.52bn.

"Our gaming and magazine businesses continue to perform very well whilst the television business is working its way through a difficult period," said executive chairman James Packer, who is Kerry Packer's son.

"New management at Nine has launched a concerted attack on its cost base in order to restore margins through eliminating waste, improving efficiency and lowering programming costs."

Nine Network has lost ground to smaller Australian rival Seven Network, which saw its ratings gain on imported US hits Desperate Housewives and Lost.

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