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SPH retrenches 111 staff

30 June 2003 - Singapore Press Holdings today announced that it has retrenched 111 employees as staffing levels are not in line with the current business volume.

The group-wide job cuts represent about 3 per cent of the Group’s 3,700 staff.

The media group said that the business environment remained difficult and uncertain, following the recent Iraq war and the SARS outbreak.

Although the management has taken various steps to reduce costs and improve operational efficiency, it was imperative to "right-size" the organisation given the continuing uncertainties.

SPH recruited more than 1,000 staff in 2000 for several new ventures and to meet the increased pagination in SPH newspapers. The subsequent economic downturn in 2001 forced the group to lay off some of these staff following the delisting of AsiaOne, the SPH’s Internet arm, the closure of Project Eyeball tabloid and the downsizing of SPH MediaWorks, the group’s broadcasting arm.

But as a result of the latest downturn, staff numbers remain higher than justified by current pagination levels, SPH said.

"It is with much regret that we have to let some of our colleagues go in order to right-size the organisation. We are facing an increasingly uncertain business environment. The Iraq war, SARS outbreak and the general weakness of the economy have compounded the effects," said SPH CEO Alan Chan.

"Cost control measures have been in place and we will continually review them. Our flexi-wage system has also helped control wage costs. But the truth is, our staffing levels are not in line with our current business volume.

"It is imperative that we keep a lean and trim organisation going forward."

Mr Chan added: "We will work with the unions to help the affected colleagues in every possible way."

Retrenched staff who have worked three years or more will get three months’ notice pay and a month’s pay for every year of service, subject to a maximum of 25 years. Those with less than three years’ service will receive their notice pay and one month’s ex-gratia payment. They will also be given pro-rated bonus and training grant.

Issued by Singapore Press Holdings

For more information, please contact:

Irene Ngoo
Assistant Vice President
Corporate Relations
Tel: 63191216

Main board listed Singapore Press Holdings Limited is the leading news and information provider, offering quality content for print, Internet, TV and radio. It is licensed to publish 15 newspapers in the four official languages and six lifestyle periodicals. Everyday, 2.78 million individuals, or 90 per cent of people above 15 years old, read one of 15 newspapers published by SPH while online publication of its six main dailies enjoy some 120 million page views a month. SPH has ventured into the broadcast medium and operates two popular free-to-air TV channels, Channel U in Chinese and Channel i in English.