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SPH Profit Dips 4.7% in Q1 (BT)

BackJan 11, 2012

SINGAPORE Press Holdings (SPH) achieved higher recurring earnings for its fiscal first quarter but lower investment income resulted in a 4.7 per cent fall in net profit.

Net profit for the three months ended Nov 30 was $97.5 million, down from $102.3 million for the corresponding year-ago period. Earnings per share stayed at six cents.

Group operating revenue for the quarter rose 4.3 per cent year on year to $332.4 million. A strong showing from the property segment and improved performance from its Internet and exhibitions businesses cushioned the fall in turnover from its newspaper and magazine segment.

This contributed to a 4.2 per cent year-on-year increase in recurring earnings to $121.2 million. The group's recurring earnings for its media and property businesses refer to profit before investment income and share of net loss/profit of associates and jointly-controlled entities.

The period saw a 90.3 per cent drop in net income from investments to $587,000 due to unrealised foreign exchange losses on investments stemming from volatility in the financial markets.

Rental income for the group rose 27.2 per cent to $46.9 million for the quarter. Clementi Mall, which started operations in Q2 2011, recorded rental income of $9 million while revenue from Paragon rose 2.6 per cent, thanks to higher rental rates.

Operating revenue from the group's other businesses surged 42 per cent to $23.3 million, with higher income from newly acquired shows in the exhibitions business.

But revenue from the group's newspaper and magazine business fell 1.2 per cent to $262.3 million. Print advertisement revenue slipped 1.2 per cent to $204 million, while circulation revenue fell 1.8 per cent to $50.3 million.

Staff costs rose 1.5 per cent to $88.3 million.

Materials, consummables and broadcasting costs rose 2.2 per cent to $42.5 million, with higher newsprint prices partially cushioned by a favourable exchange rate.

Other operating expenses rose 16 per cent to $57.1 million, as a result of cost incurred from the commencement of operations at Clementi Mall and higher overheads due to increased business activities and inflationary pressures

"The outlook for the global economy remains fraught with uncertainties," said CEO Alan Chan. "The group will strive for a sustained performance in the core newspaper business while pursing growth in business adjacencies."

Shares of SPH closed yesterday three cents higher at $3.70 prior to the results announcement.