Singapore, 10 October 2008 - Singapore Press Holdings Limited (SPH) today reported its full year results for the year ended 31 August 2008. Recurring profit rose 17.5% to $501.7 million, driven by better performance from the print media business and higher contribution from Sky@eleven. Investment income fell by 67.3% to $47.7 million amidst the unfavourable investment climate brought about by the deepening crisis in the global financial market. After including impairment charge on investments in associates of $26.7 million, net profit declined 12.4% to $437.4 million from last year´s $499.1 million.
Group operating revenue rose 12.1% to a record high of $1,301.0 million. Despite a difficult year marked by challenges and uncertainties in the global and domestic economy, revenue for the Newspaper and Magazine segment grew 5.7% to $1,014.3 million, underpinned by a commendable 7.6% growth in print advertisement revenue to $780.1 million. Revenue from property segment climbed 43.6% to $255.3 million, boosted by the $138.1 million contribution from Sky@eleven, while Paragon posted a $10.1 million increase in rental income.
Total operating expenses were up $69.2 million to $814.5 million. Property development costs for Sky@eleven accounted for $15.8 million of the increase while staff costs grew $31.5 million or 10.4% as a result of increased headcount and annual salary increment. Total headcount in August 2008 was 3,918 compared to 3,735 a year ago, as the Group continued to invest resources to develop its new media and magazine businesses for future growth. Other operating expenses were up by $16.6 million or 9.9% to $184.5 million mainly because of increased business activity and inflationary pressures.
Group investment income of $47.7 million was $98.4 million (67.3%) lower than last year mainly due to last year´s higher profit on the sale of investments and gains from capital reduction exercises by MobileOne Limited and Starhub Limited. In addition, this year´s income was affected by the downward fair valuation of the Group´s investments.
The Group took an impairment charge of $26.7 million to write down the carrying amount of its investments in associates, mainly TOM Outdoor Media Group, to its estimated recoverable amount.
After accounting for taxation, net profit was down 12.4% to $437.4 million from last year´s $499.1 million.
Commenting on the outlook for FY2009, Mr Alan Chan, Chief Executive Officer of SPH said: “Outlook for the global economy has deteriorated given the heightened concerns over the financial turmoil and slowdown in the major economies. Against this backdrop, Singapore´s GDP growth forecast for 2008 has been revised to around 3%, and the Group´s advertising revenue is expected to move in tandem with the Singapore domestic economy. To partially alleviate the challenges brought about by increased newsprint and other business costs, the Group will continue to take measures to grow revenue and contain costs. Property segment is expected to contribute significantly to the Group´s performance, through the progressively recognised profit from Sky@eleven. Barring unforeseen circumstances, the Directors expect the recurring earnings for the current financial year to be satisfactory.”
The Directors of SPH have proposed a Final Dividend of 19 cents per share, comprising a Normal Dividend of 9 cents per share and a Special Dividend of 10 cents per share in respect of the financial year ended 31 August 2008. These dividends are on tax-exempt (one-tier) basis and will be paid on 23 December 2008. Together with the Interim Dividend paid during the year, total Dividend payout for FY 2008 will be 27 cents.
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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 16 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 and produces more than 100 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 150 million pageviews with 9 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; local search and directory engine, rednano.sg; STOMP (Straits Times Online Mobile Print), a portal that connects, engages and interacts with readers on the Web and via mobile phone messaging; omy, a bilingual news and interactive portal and The Straits Times RazorTV, a free access interactive webcast service offering live chat shows and video on demand clips.
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.
Visit www.sph.com.sg for more information.