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SPH Reports Satisfactory Full Year Results Amid Global Economic Slowdown

Singapore, 15 October 2002 - Main board listed Singapore Press Holdings Limited (SPH) today reported its full year results which saw a 4.6% drop in net profit to $307.4 million for the full year ended 31 August 2002, compared to the same period last year.

Group operating revenue dropped by 12.5% to $903.5 million. Operating revenue from Newspapers and Magazines segment declined by 15.8% from $960.5 million last year to $808.3 million. Operating revenue from Multimedia and broadcasting increased by 51.1% while Property segment registered growth in operating revenue of 21.5%. Profit from operations fell by 7.8% to $311.3 million. Savings from newsprint cost, staff cost and other operating expenses helped to cushion the drop in operating revenue.

"The performance of the Group is commendable amid the difficult trading environment. While our advertising revenue was affected by the economic slowdown, we have managed to lower our costs to cushion the decline," said Mr Lim Kim San, Executive Chairman of SPH.

The rightsizing of the Internet and TV operations and the flexi-wage policy resulted in staff cost being $41.8 million lower compared to the same period last year. Group headcount as at end August 2002 was 3,769 compared to 4,368 a year ago.

Newsprint cost decreased by $61.0 million or 35.5% compared to last year because of lower consumption and newsprint charge out price. SPH MediaWorks Ltd, SPH’s newly started broadcasting arm, contributed advertising revenue of $27.5 million. However, it incurred a loss from operations of $44.6 million for the full year. Broadcasting advertising revenue for the second half of the year grew by 69.6% compared to the first half of the financial year. The growth came mainly from Channel U as it increased its market share in Chinese viewership during prime time.

Investment income for the full year was $41.7 million, 46.2% lower than last year as a result of smaller fund size and weak interest rate environment.

Commenting on the outlook for the current financial year, Mr Lim said "Trading conditions are expected to remain uncertain until we see a clear recovery in the economy."

The directors of SPH have declared a final gross dividend of 50 cents per share. In addition, the Board has also proposed to pay out a special dividend of 30 cents per share. These dividends would be paid on 3 January 2003 subject to shareholders’ approval.

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For more information, please contact:

Ms Irene Ngoo
Assistant Vice President
Corporate Relations
Singapore Press Holdings
Tel: 6319 1216
Fax: 6319 8150