Singapore Press Holdings reports FY net profit dropped 23 percent

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

Singapore Press Holdings reported Thursday its full fiscal year net profit dropped 23.4 percent on-year to S$213.21 million, mainly on the absence of a year-ago one-off gain from a divestment.

Operating revenue for the fiscal year ended 31 August slipped 2.4 percent on-year to S$959.26 million as improvement in the property segment offset a decline in media’s contribution, the media and property company said in a filing to SGX.

“The media business continues to be challenged with the decline in print advertisement and circulation revenue. But we are seeing progress in our digital transformation strategy in terms of improved digital advertisement and circulation growth,” Ng Yat Chung, CEO of SPH, said in the statement.

“We have redeployed capital from our Treasury & Investment portfolio to invest in student accommodation which is yielding a steady stream of recurring income. We will continue to invest in such defensive, cash-yielding sectors to expand our recurring income base,” Ng added.

Media

Media segment revenue fell 12 percent on-year to S$576.9 million for the fiscal year, with total print ad revenue falling 14.9 percent on-year and circulation revenue decreasing by 7.3 percent, SPH said.

New products, such as the news tablet, helped the digital segment post “healthy” growth, SPH said. Daily average newspaper digital copies rose 19.3 percent, while newspaper digital ad revenue increased 6 percent on-year, the company said.

The media segment’s pretax profit dropped 44.6 percent on-year to S$54.7 million despite production costs falling by 5.4 percent and staff costs decreasing by 6.9 percent, SPH said.

Property

Property revenue increased 22.3 percent on-year to S$296.5 million on asset acquisitions during the year, with the U.K. student accommodation portfolio contributing S$36.4 million in revenue, SPH said.

SPH REIT’s Figtree Grove property in Australia also contributed S$11.4 million in revenue for the year, SPH said.

Property revaluation gains also boosted the property segment, with pretax profit for the fiscal year rising 39 percent on-year to S$263 million, SPH said.

Dividend declared

SPH declared a final dividend of 6.5 Singapore cents a share, comprising a 5.5 Singapore-cent dividend and a special dividend of 1 Singapore cent; including the interim dividend of 5.5 Singapore cents, the total payout for the fiscal year will be 12 Singapore cents, SPH said.

In its outlook, SPH said it would be “streamlining” its media operations, in an effort that would see a 5 percent reduction in staff numbers in the segment.

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