SPH Reports Full Year Net Profit of $366M (ST)

BackOct 13, 2012

Correction :
In our story "SPH reports full year net profit of $366m" yesterday, we said that The Seletar Mall is expected to be completed at the end of next year. It should be 2014. We are sorry for the error.

Earnings hit by weaker investment income; operating revenue rises 1.8%

SOLID income from its property arm helped to cushion a drop in full-year net profit for Singapore Press Holdings.

Net profit declined 5.9 per cent to $365.5 million for the 12 months to Aug 31 despite operating revenue growing 1.8 per cent to $1.27 billion.

Chief executive Alan Chan told a briefing yesterday that he was "happy that... despite all the challenges, our recurring profit actually improved".

Group recurring earnings grew 0.3 per cent to $410.2 million.

Mr Chan added that though it was "with a tinge of regret that I see that our newspapers business has suffered a dip... I'm quite glad that we went into this property thrust and this was able to compensate for the drop in profits of newspapers and magazines.".

He said that while SPH would concentrate on shopping malls, it will continue to team up with joint venture partners in land tenders for mixed developments.

The Seletar Mall, a joint venture with United Engineers in which SPH holds a 70 per cent stake, is expected to be completed at the end of next year {SEE CORRECTION ABOVE}.

Property rental income from Paragon and The Clementi Mall jumped 14 per cent to $191.4 million for the year.

The Clementi Mall became fully operational this year, while Paragon posted higher rental rates.

The returns from property helped offset the 1 per cent fall in operating revenue for SPH's core newspapers and magazines segment to $1 billion, from $1.01 billion the preceding year.

Print advertising revenue came in at $769.4 million, down 0.7 per cent from last year, while circulation turnover declined 2.1 per cent to $202.9 million.

Turnover for display ads, which account for 60.5 per cent of print advertising revenue, dipped 0.4 per cent.

Sales of classified ads, which make up 28.4 per cent, declined 7.9 per cent.

The cost of materials, production and distribution inched up 1 per cent to $221.1 million.

Staff costs were up 3.4 per cent to $360.2 million, due to salary increments and increased headcount from acquiring ACP Magazines but were partially offset by a reduced variable bonus provision, the firm said.

Operating revenue from SPH's other businesses, such as its exhibitions arm, expanded 12.8 per cent to $78.7 million.

The main hit to the bottom line came from a 35.3 per cent decline in investment income to $32.6 million, which the company said was due to volatility in the financial markets.

Earnings per share stood at 23 cents for the year, down from 24 cents the preceding year.

Net asset value per share was $1.39 as at Aug 31, unchanged from the same date a year ago.

A dividend of 17 cents was declared, comprising a final dividend of nine cents and a special dividend of eight cents.

The counter closed two cents higher at $4.07 yesterday.