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SPH reports Second Quarter Net Profit of $113 million

SINGAPORE, 13 April 2010 – Singapore Press Holdings Limited (SPH) today reported its results for the second quarter ended 28 February 2010. Against the corresponding quarter of last year, recurring profit jumped 35.8% to $127.5 million, led by the strong performance of the Newspaper and Magazine segment. The Group’s investment income and share of net profit of associates and jointly-controlled entities were higher by $3.6 million and $4.6 million respectively. Net profit rose to $113.3 million, a 30.2% increase compared to the corresponding quarter last year.

Group operating revenue at $318.7 million was $31.5 million (11.0%) higher compared to the same period in the previous financial year. In line with the economic recovery, the Group’s Newspaper and Magazine segment posted revenue of $222.6 million, $18.1 million (8.8%) higher compared to the year-ago period. Print advertisement revenue increased by 13.3% to $165.4 million, fuelled by the rebound in display and recruitment ads, while circulation revenue dipped by $1.6 million. Revenue for the Property segment rose by $13.0 million (18.0%) to $85.2 million, on the back of higher revenue from Sky@eleven and the increase in rental income from Paragon.

Total operating expenses decreased year-on-year by 1.1% to $193.5 million. Newsprint costs were lower by $12.8 million (38.4%) while other operating expenses decreased $6.0 million (13.3%) mainly due to lower factory and other overheads such as utilities costs, doubtful debts provisions and foreign exchange differences. Property development costs were higher by $3.0 million (26.6%), in line with the higher percentage-of-completion of construction. Staff costs increased by $14.0 million (20.1%) to $83.3 million as a result of higher variable bonus provision in line with the rise in profits from the newspaper business.

The Group’s net investment income improved from a loss of $0.1 million in the second quarter last year to a gain of $3.5 million this year.

For the half year ended 28 February 2010, the Group achieved a 29.4% increase in its recurring earnings to $286.8 million from $221.7 million a year ago. Group operating revenue increased by $45.3 million (7.2%) while total operating costs fell by $19.8 million (4.8%) year-on-year. The Group recorded a net investment income of $13.7 million, a turnaround of $47.4 million compared to the first half of the previous financial year. Net profit attributable to shareholders surged 61.2% to $258.0 million.

On the outlook for FY2010, Mr Alan Chan, Chief Executive Officer of SPH, commented: “The positive trend in our print advertising sales has continued into the second quarter, and this has enabled us to deliver a strong set of results for the first half of FY2010. We will continue to monitor cost levels closely while at the same time devote resources to optimise and grow our core businesses and invest selectively in adjacent businesses.”

Barring unforeseen circumstances, the Directors of SPH expect overall performance of the Group for the financial year to be satisfactory.

The Directors have declared an interim dividend of 7 cents per share which will be paid on May 21, 2010.

Issued by Singapore Press Holdings Ltd
Co. Regn. No. 198402868E


For more information, please contact:

Chin Soo Fang
Head
Corporate Communications Division
Singapore Press Holdings
Tel: 6319 1216
Fax: 6319 8150
E-mail: soofang@sph.com.sg
 

About Singapore Press Holdings Ltd
Incorporated in 1984, main board-listed Singapore Press Holdings Ltd (SPH) celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2009. It is Southeast Asia’s leading media organisation, engaging minds and enriching lives across multiple languages and platforms.

Newspapers and Magazines

In Singapore, SPH publishes 17 newspaper titles in four languages. Every day, 3 million individuals or 79 per cent 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 225 million pageviews with 14 million unique visitors every month. Apart from SPH AsiaOne portal, SPH's online and new media initiatives include an 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.

Broadcasting

SPH has a 20 per cent stake in MediaCorp TV Holdings Pte Ltd, which operates free-to-air channels 5, 8, U and TV Mobile, and a 40 per cent stake in MediaCorp Press Limited, which publishes the free newspaper, Today. In the radio business, SPH has an 80 per cent stake in SPH UnionWorks Pte Ltd, which operates entertainment stations Radio 100.3 in Mandarin and 91.3FM in English.

Outdoor Advertising

In addition, SPH has ventured into out-of-home (OOH) advertising through its wholly-owned subsidiary, SPH MediaBoxOffice Pte Ltd, Singapore’s largest outdoor motion display advertising network media company.

Properties

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.