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SPH reports First Quarter Net Profit of $83.8 million. Improved property segment cushions weaker performance in core operations

Singapore, 12 January 2004 – Mainboard-listed Singapore Press Holdings Limited (“SPH”) today reported its maiden quarterly results for its first quarter ended 30 November 2003. The Group registered a net profit of $83.8 million for the quarter, compared to $82.8 million in the same quarter of the previous financial year.

Group turnover dipped 1.1% to $240.3 million. Revenue from the Group´s core Newspaper and Magazine operations fell 2.9% to $208.1 million, while its Broadcasting and Multimedia segment saw revenues fall 20.8% to $12.4 million. However, revenue from Property operations increased 52.2% to $19.8 million.

Mr Alan Chan, Chief Executive Officer of SPH, said: “The performance of our core business segments remained soft but this was mitigated by additional rental income generated by the new Paragon extension, which commenced operations on 1 September 2003.”

Excluding the donation of $20 million to establish the Press Foundation of Singapore Limited in the first quarter of last financial year, profit from overall operations increased a marginal 0.4%.

Against the backdrop of weaker revenue from its core business segments, operating expenses decreased 1.8% to $147.6 million. Newsprint cost for the quarter fell 3.3% with lower consumption, while staff costs were 4.2% lower as the Group´s headcount fell to 3,563 at the end November 2003 from 3,770 a year ago.

In the increasingly competitive television environment, SPH MediaWorks Ltd, SPH´s broadcasting arm, had an operating loss of $10.0 million, from the $6.3 million registered in the previous financial year´s first quarter.

Investment income for the quarter was $14.7 million, 5.5% lower than last year. The Group´s share of profits of associates also fell significantly as there was no longer a profit contribution from MobileOne (“M1”), with its reclassification as long-term investment following the Group´s partial sale of its stake in December 2002.

Commenting on the outlook for the rest of the financial year, Mr Chan said: “Despite early signs of an improving outlook for global economic growth, there are continued uncertainties over the growth momentum ahead. The Directors remain cautious about the operating performance of the Group for the current financial year.”




Issued by:
SINGAPORE PRESS HOLDINGS

For more information, please contact:

Ms Irene Ngoo
Assistant Vice President
Corporate Relations
Singapore Press Holdings
Tel: 6319 1216
Fax: 6319 8150
E-mail: ingoo@sph.com.sg

About SPH:
Main board listed Singapore Press Holdings Limited is the leading news and information provider, offering quality content for print, Internet, TV and radio. It publishes 14 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 the SPH publications while the online editions of its six main dailies enjoy some 120 million pageviews 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. It also 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.