(Business in Cameroon) - Cameroon’s media outlet Sopecam posted a net loss of CFA77.4 million in 2021, the Technical Commission for the Rehabilitation of Public and Parastatal Enterprises (CTR) revealed in a recent report. This is a hard setback for this company, which achieved a profit of CFA446.5 million the previous year.
According to CTR, this poor performance is the consequence of a sharp decrease in the company's activity, mainly a 6% drop in revenue to CFA5.3 billion. In detail, sales of the national daily newspaper "Cameroon Tribune" decreased by 8.54%, as well as those of magazines and other newspapers (Weekend Sports et Loisirs, Nyanga, Cameroon Business Today), which experienced a 52% drop yoy. Advertising revenue also decreased by 8.97% compared to 2020, along with a 15.54% decline in printing activity. The most significant underperformance was observed in the "books and publishing" segment, which shrunk by 84.73% due to "the failure to obtain approval for the manufacture of school textbooks," CTR said.
"Just like in 2020, Sopecam's performance continued to deteriorate due to the impacts of Covid-19. The company experienced an increase in the costs of raw materials/inputs, transportation, and logistics," the Technical Commission reported. To cope with this situation, the company had to reduce its expenses by 15.53%. The workforce was reduced by 17.8%, resulting in a slight decrease in personnel costs to CFA2.3 billion for the year. However, according to CTR, this volume remains high as it absorbs nearly 80% of the company's newly generated wealth (value added). The negative net cash position of CFA186 million indicates that Sopecam's activity does not generate sufficient resources to cover its expenses.
This situation is further exacerbated by the accumulation of unrecovered receivables by the company. These amounted to over CFA12.3 billion at the end of 2021, compared to debts of CFA7.8 billion. Recovering this amount would have been a relief for Sopecam’s cash flow. In that wake, the company has signed a recovery agreement with the Debt Recovery Company (SRC) to address its commercial receivables, which is expected to improve its financial position.