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SPH Raises Newspaper Cover Prices

Singapore, 13th January 2004 - Singapore Press Holdings will be raising the cover prices of nine newspapers in its stable. This is the first price increase since the last adjustment in 1995.

The increases will take effect from Friday, 16 January 2004, for copies sold at news-stands. For home and office subscribers, both current as well as newly-registered, the price increases will be lower, and will take effect from Sunday, 1 February 2004.

Daily subscribers of The Straits Times will pay 10 cents more, while news-stand copies will cost 20 cents more. Subscribers of The Sunday Times will pay 5 cents more, while the news-stand price will go up by 15 cents.

For other SPH newspapers – Lianhe Zaobao, Lianhe Wanbao, Shin Min Daily News, The New Paper, The New Paper on Sunday, Berita Harian and Berita Minggu - the cover price for subscriptions will go up by 5 cents, while news-stand copies will cost 10 cents more.

There will be no price changes for The Business Times and Tamil Murasu.

Explaining the price increases, Mr Alan Chan, CEO of SPH, said: “We have held off increases for our newspapers since 1995 because we have kept a tight rein on costs. In fact, this latest increase is only the second in 19 years for The Straits Times and Lianhe Zaobao. Few companies have managed to keep their prices unchanged for this long.

"Despite our concerted efforts to contain cost, particularly in tightening manpower, our newspaper production costs have gone up significantly over the years. We can no longer continue to fully absorb the rising cost."

In the last 10 years, even as SPH held off cover price increases, it has invested over $500 million to upgrade its printing facilities. These investments have improved the Group’s colour capabilities, enhanced product quality, and allowed later printing times to bring the latest news to readers.

Mr Cheong Yip Seng, Editor-in-Chief of English and Malay newspapers, said: "We continually strive to improve our products with regular redesigns and content improvement. This has been, and remains, our commitment to our readers, to ceaselessly aim for higher standards to meet their growing expectations."

SPH has also absorbed the goods and services tax (GST) since its introduction. The GST rate went up to 5% from 1 January 2004, and would cost SPH $9 million annually.

Said Mr Chan: "Even with the price increases, our newspapers are still among the cheapest compared to equivalent newspapers in the region and worldwide. I believe that 70 cents for a subscriber copy of The Straits Times or Lianhe Zaobao is excellent value for money."

Issued by Singapore Press Holdings

For more information, please contact:

Irene Ngoo
Assistant Vice President
Corporate Relations
DID: 6319-1216
FAX: 6319-8150

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.