SINGAPORE, 11 October 2005 - Mainboard-listed Singapore Press Holdings Limited (“SPH”) today reported its full year results for the year ended 31 August 2005. The Group registered a 12.7% increase in profit from operations for the year to $380.8 million. Including exceptional charges for both years and gains from disposal of stake in StarHub this year, and Times House and stake in Belgacom last year, the net profit for the year was $494.7 million against $546.3 million in the previous financial year.
Group operating revenue hit the $1.0 billion mark, boosted by revenue from the Group´s core Newspaper and Magazine operations which grew 7.0% to $891.8 million, and Property segment which saw revenues rise 8.3% to $89.4 million. This was partially offset by lower revenue from Broadcasting and Multimedia segment which fell 51.6% to $26.3 million as a result of the cessation of the Group´s broadcasting operations on 1 January 2005.
Total operating expenses fell 1.2% to $635.4 million, largely attributable to cost savings with the cessation of broadcasting operations. This was partially offset by higher newspaper production costs, particularly newsprint cost which increased 14.4% because of higher prices, and higher magazine production costs following the acquisition of Blu Inc media and publishing business and the expansion of the Group´s existing magazine business. Total staff costs was marginally lower by 0.2%. Overall, the Group´s headcount fell to 3,443 at end of August 2005 from 3,591 a year ago.
Group investment income was $248.6 million against $258.0 million a year ago. Excluding one-time gain on StarHub this year ($128.5 million) and Belgacom last year ($170.5 million), group investment income would have been $32.5 million better than last year. This was attributable largely to higher profit on sale of investments of $35.6 million.
The exceptional loss for this financial year of $38.5 million included charges associated with the media merger ($25.9 million) and impairment of goodwill that arose from the acquisition of interests in magazine companies ($12.9 million).
The exceptional gain of $28.7 million last year came mainly from the sale of Times House, partially offset by a charge pursuant to an exercise to review the Group´s broadcasting assets and impairment losses on property, plant and equipment.
Commenting on the outlook for the next financial year, Mr Alan Chan, Chief Executive Officer of SPH said: “The Group´s advertising revenue is expected to move in tandem with the economy. However, there are concerns over global economic factors such as the continued pressure on oil prices and interest rate hikes. Barring any adverse development in the economic and geopolitical environment, the Directors expect the profit from operations of the Group for the next financial year to be comparable to the current financial year.”
The Directors of SPH have proposed a net Final Dividend of 15.8 cents per share, comprising a net Normal Dividend of 8.0 cents per share and a net Special Dividend of 7.8 cents per share in respect of the financial year ended 31 August 2005. This will be paid on 22 December 2005.
Based on issued share capital as of latest practicable date of 5 October 2005, the net Special Dividend of 7.8 cents per share comprises 8.357 cents per share less tax or 6.685 cents per share net of tax and 1.115 cents per share (one-tier tax). The actual amount of the Special Dividend which will be paid utilising Section 44A credits and/or on a one-tier tax basis will be based on the issued shares of SPH as at the books closure date on 13 December 2005 ("BCD"), and will be announced on or after BCD.
Together with the Interim Dividend paid during the year, total net Dividend payout for FY2005 will be 22.8 cents.
Please click on these attachments to read announcement and fact sheets.
Issued by Singapore Press Holdings Limited
Co. Regn. No: 198402868E
For more information, please contact:
Mr Arnold Gay
Singapore Press Holdings
Tel: 6319 1216
Fax: 6319 8150
About Singapore Press Holdings Ltd
Main board listed Singapore Press Holdings Limited is the leading media company in Singapore, in the print, Internet and broadcasting platforms. It publishes 13 newspapers in the four official languages and about 80 magazine titles. Everyday, 2.8 million individuals, or 88 per cent of the 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 over 300 million pageviews a month. SPH also owns a 20% stake in MediaCorp TV Holdings Pte Ltd, which operates free-to-air channels 5, 8, U and TV Mobile, and a 40% stake in MediaCorp Press Pte Ltd, which publishes free newspaper Today. SPH operates two entertainment radio channels, UFM 100.3 FM in Chinese and WKRZ 91.3 FM in English, under a joint venture company UnionWorks with NTUC Media, and owns an 80% stake in SPH MediaBoxOffice Pte Ltd, Singapore´s largest LED network media company.