TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s National Post, the flagship daily newspaper of Canwest Global Communications Corp, will not publish a Monday edition for nine weeks this summer in its latest move to cut costs, a company spokesman said on Wednesday.
The paper will operate as normal during this period, expected to start sometime in June, with no layoffs and no changes to content expected, spokesman John Douglas told Reuters.
The move is the latest aimed at trimming expenses amid a sharp advertising downturn at Canwest’s newspapers and its Global television network. Canwest has already cut 560 jobs across the company and reduced the Post’s print presence in parts of Western Canada.
Canwest itself is wrestling with creditors including banks and noteholders in hopes of restructuring roughly C$4 billion of debt that it is carrying on its balance sheet.
The Winnipeg, Manitoba-based company has said it will continue to work on reducing operating costs across the board as well as look at opportunities to divest non-core assets.
Canwest is considering selling five conventional TV stations and has agreed to sell its stake in sports broadcaster Score Media. It has already sold the New Republic magazine in the United States to a group of private investors.
Still, no large-scale asset sale that would make a significant dent in its debt load has materialized so far.
Meanwhile, the recession is choking the advertising market, the lifeblood of Canwest’s stable of newspapers and television stations. It has also depressed the appetite that potential buyers might have for Canwest’s assets.
The company owns a chain of daily newspapers in Canada, as well as the Global network. It also has television operations in Australia, through its stake in Network Ten.
Earlier this month, Canwest posted a net loss of C$1.44 billion for the three months ended February 28, including a C$1.19 billion writedown related mostly to its publishing operations.
Analysts have said Canwest could file for bankruptcy protection, but the company thus far has continued to negotiate with creditors rather than involve the courts.
The news came after the Toronto Stock Exchange closed on Wednesday. Earlier the stock rose 1 Canadian cent to 26 Canadian cents.
Reporting by Wojtek Dabrowski; editing by Frank McGurty
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