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SPH reports a First Quarter Net Profit of $221.6 million

SINGAPORE, 6 January 2005 – Mainboard-listed Singapore Press Holdings Limited (“SPH”) today reported results for its first quarter ended 30 November 2004. After accounting for the income from disposal of a substantial portion of the Group´s interest in StarHub Limited, the Group registered a net profit of $221.6 million compared to $83.8 million in the same quarter of the previous financial year.

Group turnover increased 10.4% to $265.4 million, boosted by revenue from the Group´s core Newspaper and Magazine operations which rose 10.6% to $230.2 million. Amidst some concern over the slower than expected economic growth, the Group´s newspaper advertising revenue for the first quarter was satisfactory. In addition, the acquisition of Blu Inc media and publishing business in September 2004 contributed to the overall improved performance of the core Newspaper and Magazine segment. Property segment saw revenues increase 6.6% to $21.1 million while revenue from Broadcasting and Multimedia segment was 13.3% higher at $14.0 million.

Profit from Group operations for the first quarter was 0.6% more at $95.9 million. Operating expenses increased by 16.6% to $172.0 million. Newsprint cost was 18.7% higher because of higher prices, while staff costs were 11.5% more as headcount increased following the acquisition of Blu Inc media and publishing business and expansion of the Group´s existing magazine business. Group´s headcount rose to 3,816 at end of November 2004 from 3,563 a year ago.

SPH MediaWorks Ltd, SPH´s broadcasting arm, incurred operating loss of $13.1 million, up from the $10.0 million registered in the same quarter of the previous financial year. This was attributable to the production of local programmes and accelerated utilisation of acquired content prior to completing the merger of free-to-air television broadcasting business with MediaCorp Pte Ltd.

Group investment income improved to $152.7 million from $14.7 million last year, $128.5 million of which arose from the disposal of a substantial portion of the Group´s stake in StarHub. Higher profits on sale of other investments also contributed to the better performance of investment income.

Commenting on the outlook for the rest of the financial year, Mr Alan Chan, Chief Executive Officer of SPH said: “The Group´s newspaper advertising revenue is expected to move in tandem with the expected slowdown in economic growth for the year 2005. For the Group´s broadcasting business, there are operational losses for the period prior to the completion of the merger of the free-to-air television broadcasting business, retrenchment costs and potential charges arising from the exercise. In view of the
expected slowdown in economic growth and uncertainties over the economic and geopolitical environment, the Directors are cautious about the operating performance of the Group for the current financial year.”

Click on these attachments for announcement and fact sheets on SPH’S first quarter FY2005 results.

 

Issued by Singapore Press Holdings Limited
Co. Regn. No: 198402868E

For more information, please contact:

Irene Ngoo
Vice President
Corporate Relations
Singapore Press Holdings
DID: 63191216
Fax: 6319 8150
Email: ingoo@sph.com.sg

About Singapore Press Holdings
Main board listed Singapore Press Holdings Limited is the leading news and information provider, offering quality content for print, Internet and radio. It publishes 13 newspapers in the four official languages and 63 magazine titles. Everyday, 2.78 million individuals, or 90 per cent of people above 15 years old, read one of the SPH publications. Its Internet Business Unit manages the online editions of SPH’s major newspapers and magazines, which together enjoy some 300 million pageviews a month. SPH also operates two UFM 100.3 FM in Chinese and WKRZ 91.3 FM in English,
under a joint venture company UnionWorks with NTUC Media.