SPH reports fiscal 3Q net profit tumbled 44 percent amid lower print ad revenue

Straits Times reading sculpture at Changi AirportStraits Times reading sculpture at Changi Airport

Singapore Press Holdings reported Friday its fiscal third quarter net profit tumbled 44.1 percent on-year to S$26.20 million amid lower print advertising revenue.

Revenue for the quarter ended 31 May slipped 2.1 percent on-year to S$249.59 million, the Straits Times publisher said in a filing to SGX.

“The decline in print advertisement revenue was cushioned by the growing contribution from the student accommodation portfolio and from SPH REIT’s retail asset Figtree Grove Shopping Centre in Australia,” SPH said in the statement.

The student accommodation portfolio contributed S$14.3 million in rental revenue, while SPH REIT’s Australian shopping center contributed S$4.2 million, the filing said.

Net income from investments dropped 81.9 percent on-year in the quarter to S$3.96 million as the treasury and investment portfolio was largely divested near the end of the previous fiscal year, SPH said.

Total costs climbed 5..5 percent on-year in the quarter to S$220.38 million, SPH said.

For the third quarter, 39.3 percent of operating revenue was from advertisements, 14.6 percent was from circulation, 32.7 percent was from rental and services and 13.4 percent was from other sources, SPH said.

For the fiscal nine-month period, total revenue fell 3.4 percent on-year to S$736.2 million, the filing said.

Media business revenue for the nine-month period fell 11.6 percent on-year to S$439.7 million as newspaper print advertising revenue fell 12.3 percent and media circulation revenue declined 8.9 percent, SPH said. Profit before tax for the segment was S$24.7 million in the nine-month period, down 32.2 percent on-year, SPH said.

In the digital media business, newspaper digital ad revenue rose 11 percent on-year in the nine-month period, while daily average newspaper digital sales increased 12.8 percent, SPH said.

Property segment revenue jumped 21.4 percent on-year to S$220.7 million in the nine-month period, boosted by acquisitions in the U.K. student accommodation portfolio, SPH reported. Profit before tax for the segment rose 14.8 percent on-year in the nine months to S$132.8 million, SPH said.

“The media business continues to be challenged on various fronts including the ongoing trade tensions and the slowing of the Singapore economy, but we remain focused on our digital transformation strategy,” Ng Yat Chung, CEO of SPH, said in the statement. “We see improved recurring income from the property segment which has expanded its portfolio following recent acquisitions.”

He added that the issuance of perpetual securities has left the company “well-placed” for growth opportunities.

In May, SPH priced an offering of S$150 million of subordinated perpetual securities at 4.50 percent.

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