Singapore, 14 January 2008 - Singapore Press Holdings Limited (SPH) today reported its results for the first quarter ended 30 November 2007. Profit before investment income surged 19.8% to $126.5 million from $105.6 million a year ago with a strong showing from the newspaper and magazine business and profit contribution from Sky@eleven. Investment income declined 66.9% to $9.8 million with a more muted performance compared to the previous year. Net profit was consequently up 1.3% to $111.9 million from $110.5 million in the corresponding quarter last year.
Group operating revenue grew by 14.7% to $312.1 million. Newspaper and Magazine operations improved by 8.2% to $261.3 million underpinned by strong print advertisement revenue growth of 10.5% to $202.9 million. Revenue from Property operations rose 69.9% to $43.5 million with a contribution of $16.1 million from Sky@eleven.
Total operating costs increased by $19.9 million or 11.8% to $188.5 million. Property development costs of Sky@eleven accounted for $4.6 million while staff costs were higher by 14.7% or $10.1 million due to higher variable bonus provision in line with continued improved profitability of the newspaper business, increased headcount and annual salary increment. Total headcount in November 2007 was 3,771 compared to 3,562 a year ago mainly due to the inclusion of new subsidiaries and staffing for new media businesses. Other operating expenses of $41.3 million were up 12.8% or $4.7 million with increased business activity and inclusion of costs for new subsidiaries.
Group investment income of $9.8 million was 66.9% lower than last year partly due to the fair valuation of investments being affected by recent volatility in financial markets. In addition, the previous year´s investment income was boosted by higher dividend income from MobileOne Limited and profit from a capital reduction exercise by Starhub Limited.
Commenting on the outlook for FY 2008, Mr Alan Chan, Chief Executive Officer of SPH said: “Advertisement revenue will continue to be driven by the Singapore economy which is expected to grow at a more moderate pace in 2008. The Group will continue to focus on sustaining its operating profit margin amid rising business costs. Profits from Sky@eleven will provide an added boost to the Group´s earnings. Barring unforeseen circumstances, the Directors expect the recurring earnings for the current financial year to be satisfactory.”
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Chin Soo Fang
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About Singapore Press Holdings Ltd
Newspapers and Magazines
Main board-listed Singapore Press Holdings Ltd (SPH) is the leading media company in Singapore, delivering news and information through print, Internet and broadcasting platforms. In Singapore, it publishes 14 newspapers in four languages. Every day, 2.9 million individuals or 81 percent of people above 15 years old, read one of SPH’s news publications. SPH also publishes over 90 magazine titles in Singapore and the region, covering a broad range of interests from lifestyle to information technology.
Internet and Mobile
Beyond print, the Internet editions of SPH newspapers enjoy over 110 million pageviews with 7 million unique visitors every month. Apart from SPH AsiaOne portal, SPH’s online and new media initiatives include a revolutionary mobile advertising and information service, ZapCode; online marketplace for products, services and employment, ST701; and STOMP (Straits Times Online Mobile Print), a portal that connects, engages and interacts with readers on the Web and via mobile phone messaging.
SPH has a 20 percent stake in MediaCorp TV Holdings Pte Ltd, which operates free-to-air channels 5, 8, U and TV Mobile, and a 40 percent stake in MediaCorp Press Pte Ltd, which publishes the free newspaper, Today. In the radio business, SPH has a 80 percent stake in SPH UnionWorks Pte Ltd, which operates entertainment stations Radio 100.3 FM in Mandarin and Radio 91.3 FM in English.
In addition, SPH has ventured into outdoor advertising through its wholly-owned subsidiary, SPH MediaBoxOffice Pte Ltd, Singapore´s largest outdoor motion display advertising network media company, and a 35 percent stake in TOM Outdoor Media Group, a leading outdoor advertising company in China.
SPH owns and manages Paragon, the prime retail and office complex in the heart of Orchard Road, Singapore’s main shopping belt. SPH’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Times Development Pte Ltd, is also developing a 43-storey upmarket residential condominium, Sky@eleven, at Thomson Road.