Singapore, 20 July 2006 – Singapore Press Holdings extends its deepest condolences to the family of Mr Lim Kim San.
"We are deeply saddened to hear of his passing,” said SPH Chairman Dr Tony Tan.
“On behalf of the Board, Management and staff, I would like to offer our heart-felt sympathy to his family. As one of Singapore’s founding fathers and the architect of SPH´s success over the last l7 years, his passing is truly a great loss to
Mr Lim joined SPH as Executive Chairman in September 1988, a position he held until December 2002. He was the Group´s Senior Advisor until his retirement in December 2005.
Dr Tan paid this tribute to Mr Lim :
Mr Lim Kim San was invited by the SPH Board of Directors to assume the Chairmanship of the Company in 1988.
By then, SPH had already been in operation for over four years, following its formation from the merger of the Straits Times Press Ltd, Times Publishing Berhad and the Singapore News and Publications Ltd in 1984.
The SPH Board wanted a man who had the organisational skills, tenacity, grasp of finance and people instincts to lead SPH to a new level.
Although knowing very little about the media industry, Mr Lim accepted the position and set out to revamp the organisation.
Realising that the Company had to be completely reorganised to meet the competition, he set out to rationalize the Group´s disparate operations and to control costs by freezing all non-critical spending and hiring as he embarked on his plans.
Mr Lim did not hesitate to implement difficult measures when he deemed them to be necessary.
Apart from the recruitment freeze, he instituted a new pay and benefits structure that cut back on annual leave benefits for executives.
Overtime pay was also trimmed as new productivity performance indicators came into operation.
But Mr Lim did not concentrate only on cutting costs.
He was also constantly on the look out for new ideas and ways for SPH to expand beyond its traditional print domain.
Very early on, before the medium matured, Mr Lim knew that newspapers could no longer rely on just newsprint to deliver content. So he actively encouraged the use of electronic platforms, especially the Internet. Today, our online newspapers have a wide, global readership that totals an average of 100 million pageviews a month.
Mr Lim was instrumental in the Group´s decision to invest in the telecommunications sector as well. Our investments in M1 and Starhub (SCV), and overseas, in Belgacom, have all since reaped handsome profits for SPH, to the tune of about $480 million.
Mr Lim also expanded the Group´s physical facilities by investing $240 million in a new print centre and colour printing presses in Jurong.
Mr Lim put great emphasis on making sure that the right people were in the right place to do the right job.
His leadership philosophy was simple, yet highly effective – a full day´s pay for a full day´s work; and he was never afraid of using people whom he regarded as smarter than himself.
The results of Mr Lim´s tenure as SPH Chairman speak for themselves.
When Mr Lim took over in 1988, SPH had pre-tax profits of $74 million, revenues of $392 million, and a market capitalisation of $1.8 billion.
In the last Financial Year, SPH´s profits were over $490 million with revenues hitting the $1 billion mark, and the current market capitalisation of the Company is more than $6 billion.
Today, SPH is the leading media company in Singapore with 14 newspapers, and over 80 magazines.
SPH has gone online in various ways to tap the Internet, and we have gone into outdoor advertising with SPH MediaBoxOffice and TOM Outdoor Media Group.
The Paragon shopping mall, which SPH bought in 1996, is one of our crown jewels.
The dynamic and multi-media company that SPH is today, is due to Mr Lim Kim San´s work.
Mr Lim has lived a full life.
More important, he has lived a good life that has been crowned with many achievements and awards, and distinguished by a commitment to the public good.
This will be his lasting legacy.
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About Singapore Press Holdings
Main board listed Singapore Press Holdings Limited is the leading media company in Singapore, in the print, Internet and broadcasting platforms. It publishes 14 newspapers in the four official languages, including Singapore’s first free Chinese newspaper, My Paper, and over 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, which enjoy over 100 million pageviews from 6 million unique visitors every month. More recent online additions are the classified website, ST701, and STOMP (Straits Times Online Mobile Print), a portal that connects, engages and interacts with readers on the Internet and via mobile messaging.
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 sheet Today. SPH has a 70% stake in SPH UnionWorks, which operates two entertainment radio channels, Radio 100.3 FM in Chinese and Radio 91.3 FM in English. In addition, SPH holds an 80% stake in SPH MediaBoxOffice Pte Ltd, Singapore´s largest LED network media company, and a 35% stake in TOM Outdoor Media Group, a leading outdoor advertising company in China.