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Regular winner SPH keeps it up - Oct 05, 2007 (BT)

BackOct 05, 2007

The Straits Times / The Business Times News On SPH

Regular winner SPH keeps it up

Company sees award as recognition of its sustained efforts at maintaining high standards of corporate governance and transparency.


Oct 05, 2007
The Business Times

MEDIA giant Singapore Press Holdings does not have much of a choice when wanting to benchmark itself with a similar company or industry here, but that has not prevented it from maintaining high standards of corporate governance and transparency as a listed company.

Mr Mallek: 'SPH places a lot of importance on making sure that announcements on key information relating to the company are made promptly and in a timely manner'

It must be a recognition of its sustained efforts at good corporate governance that has led SPH to be a regular winner in the annual SIAS investor awards, says Tony Mallek, SPH's executive vice-president (finance).

'We see this as a recognition of the high standard of corporate governance and transparency practised by the company through the sustained effect of making prompt announcements, producing quality annual reports, and holding regular meetings with the media and analysts,' Mr Mallek said, just as SPH bagged the Most Transparent Company award in the 'Non-Electronics Manufacturing' category for this year. SPH is a joint winner with SembCorp Marine for the title.

Mr Mallek spoke of easy-to-digest announcements of the company's quarterly financial results in the main newspapers and a corporate hotline number and email for investors and the public to post their queries, as among various methods the media company uses to keep close contact with its stakeholders.

'SPH places a lot of importance on making sure that announcements on key information relating to the company are made promptly and in a timely manner. Reporters, investors and the public at large are free to pose questions or seek clarifications on any company matter through our hotline and website.

'Our corporate communications staff on duty will ensure that all queries are attended to promptly,' he added, for good measure.

'To keep investors informed, SPH issues timely press releases regularly on business developments and these are posted for easy access on our corporate website at www.sph.com.sg.

'We also convene trade briefings for our advertisers and customers on new product launches or revamped products. Notices and newsletters on our products, advertising rates or any new activities are also sent to advertisers and customers on a regular basis.'

Mr Mallek feels that balancing the adoption of complex financial reporting standards and disclosing them in a manner that investors and shareholders can understand, is a key challenge in transparency.

But that has to be done, no doubt, and investors are now increasingly expecting higher standards of disclosure and asking for more non-financial information. They also place value on corporate social responsibility, he said.

For companies like SPH, improvements in accounting, disclosure and corporate governance can come through benchmarking against international best practices of similar industries, he added.

Main board-listed SPH publishes 14 newspapers in four languages in Singapore with 2.7 million individuals, or 83 per cent of people above 15 years, reading one of its publications daily.

SPH also publishes over 90 magazines here and in the region, covering a broad range of interests from lifestyle to information technology. It also has interests in broadcast media and property.