Singapore, 28 March 2003 – Main board listed Singapore Press Holdings Limited (“SPH”) today reported its interim results which saw a 67.8% increase in net profit to $273.5 million for the half year ended 28 February 2003, compared to the same period last year.
Group turnover increased by 4.9% to $457.7 million. Turnover from Newspapers and Magazines segment increased by 1.6% from $393.6 million last year to $400.0 million. Multimedia and Broadcasting segment more than doubled its turnover but turnover of Property segment fell 6.1%.
“The Group´s advertising revenue improved at the back of the low base resulting from the terrorist attacks in the United States at the beginning of last financial year. While our advertising revenue in the first quarter had been satisfactory, our performance in the second quarter was affected by the global economic uncertainty exacerbated by the geopolitical situation in the Middle East.” said Mr Alan Chan, Chief Executive Officer of SPH.
Profit from operations increased by 5.7% to $146.6 million. The Group recognised an exceptional gain of $187.7 million from the partial sale of its stake in MobileOne Ltd but it took an exceptional provision of $50 million as the result of deterioration in the valuation of Paragon.
Newsprint cost for the first half decreased by $16.3 million or 26.6% compared to
last year because of lower newsprint charge out price. Staff costs were marginally lower than last year. Group headcount as at end February 2003 was 3,725 compared to 3,979 a year ago.
SPH MediaWorks, SPH´s broadcasting arm, reported a turnover of $28.5 million and loss from operations of $16.6 million for the half year. Broadcasting advertising revenue for the first half increased to $23.4 million from $10.2 million in the first half of last financial year. The growth reflected particularly the increased market share in viewership for the Chinese channel, Channel U.
Investment income for the half year was $18.4 million, 40.5% lower than last year
because of the weak equity and interest rate environment.
Commenting on the outlook for the current financial year, Mr Chan said “With the vague economic outlook and the war in Iraq, trading conditions are expected to remain uncertain in the second half.”
The directors of SPH have declared an interim gross dividend of 20 cents per share. In addition, the Board has declared a special dividend of 30 cents per share. These dividends will be paid on 28 April 2003.
SINGAPORE PRESS HOLDINGS
For more information, please contact:
Ms Irene Ngoo
Assistant Vice President
Singapore Press Holdings
Tel: 6319 1216
Fax: 6319 8150