SPH Q1 Net Profit Dips 6.6% to $91.1M (BT)

BackJan 15, 2013

Lower revenue from newspapers and magazines, exhibitions

MEDIA group Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) reported a 6.6 per cent fall in net profit to $91.1 million for its financial first quarter ended Nov 30, 2012, from $97.5 million a year ago.

Recurring earnings – represented by profit before investment income and share of net loss of associates and jointly-controlled entities – of the group's media and property businesses dropped 9.8 per cent or $11.9 million year-on-year to $109.4 million.

This was due mainly to a 3.1 per cent or $10.3 million fall in operating revenue to $322.1 million, with reduced contributions from the newspaper and magazine and the exhibitions businesses, the latter due to timing differences of certain shows.

SPH CEO Alan Chan said in a statement yesterday that the year ahead will be challenging. "Given the uncertain economic times and the changing media consumption trends, we will monitor our cost structure carefully as we strive for a sustained performance in our core newspaper business," he said.

Newspaper and magazine revenue dipped 2.3 per cent or $6.2 million to $263.5 million. Advertisement revenue declined $4.1 million, or 2 per cent, while circulation revenue declined 2.6 per cent or $1.3 million.

Print and advertisement revenues move in tandem with Singapore's domestic economy, for which the near-term outlook remains modest, SPH said in its results commentary.

Other revenue was down 34.3 per cent, or $5.4 million, to $10.4 million. This stemmed mainly from the exhibitions business due to certain shows being held on different dates in the comparative period.

Property revenue, however, rose 2.9 per cent or $1.3 million to $48.2 million. Higher rental rates pushed up rental income from Paragon, while income from The Clementi Mall remained stable.

Investment income was $3.1 million, up from $0.6 million a year earlier. This was because investment income last year was affected by unrealised foreign exchange losses from volatility in financial markets.

In Q1, staff costs increased by 0.8 per cent or $0.7 million to $89 million. This was due to salary increments partially offset by a reduced variable bonus provision.

Newsprint costs fell $2 million, resulting in a 4.1 per cent or $2.3 million fall in materials, production and distribution costs to $53.8 million. Newsprint prices are expected to hold steady.

Other operating expenses rose by $4.4 million, or 15.4 per cent, to $32.9 million due to a step up in promotional and other business activities for the online businesses.

Net asset value per share as at Nov 30, 2012, was $1.29, down from $1.39 three months earlier.

First quarter earnings per share was six cents, unchanged from a year ago.

Yesterday, SPH shares fell one cent to $4.11, before the results were announced.