Singapore, 10 October 2003 – Main board listed Singapore Press Holdings Limited (“SPH”) today reported its full year results for the year ended 31 August 2003. The Group registered a net profit of $378.7 million, a 23.2% increase compared to the previous financial year. Excluding exceptional items, the net profit for the financial year was $257.0 million, a decline of 15.8%.
Amidst a difficult economic climate, group turnover dipped marginally to $897.8 million. Although turnover from Newspapers and Magazines segment and from Property segment decreased by 2.3% and 2.2% to $789.4 million and $52.7 million respectively, the declines were mitigated by a significant rise of 34.7% for turnover from Broadcasting and Multimedia segment, which increased from $41.4 million to $55.7 million.
“After an improvement in the first half of the financial year, turnover in the second
half was affected by the weak economic sentiments, mainly the result of the SARS outbreak in March 2003. In such an environment, our focus was mainly on cost containment and we have managed to keep overall operational costs below that of last year” said Mr Alan Chan, Chief Executive Officer of SPH.
Profit from operations, after taking into consideration the donation of $20 million to establish the Press Foundation of Singapore Limited, decreased by 6.5% to $290.9 million from $311.3 million in the previous financial year.
The cost containment strategy had however led to savings of 1.1% in operational costs. Newsprint cost for the financial year decreased by $20.9 million or 18.9% compared to last year because of lower newsprint price. Staff costs were 2% lower than last year, with headcount of 3,576 at end August 2003 from 3,769 a year ago.
SPH MediaWorks, SPH´s broadcasting arm, continued to garner increasing share of the TV advertising market due to innovative and enhanced programming. Despite the adverse effect from the SARS outbreak, broadcasting advertising revenue rose significantly to $41.6 million from $27.5 million last year, while loss from operations narrowed to $40.2 million from $44.6 million a year ago.
Investment income for the full year was $39.6 million, 5.0% lower than last year because of continued weakness in the overall investment environment. Exceptional items for the financial year included $187.7 million recognised from the partial sale of its stake in MobileOne Ltd, partially offset by a provision of $50 million as a result of deterioration in the valuation of the amalgamated Paragon.
Commenting on the outlook for the next financial year, Mr Chan said: “With SARS under control and an improving outlook for global economic growth, there are some signs of improvement in the Group´s newspaper advertising revenue. However, uncertainty remains as business sentiment continues to be cautious.”
The directors of SPH recommend a final gross dividend of $0.80 per share, comprising $0.50 normal and $0.30 special, bringing the total gross dividend payout in respect of the financial year ended 31 August 2003 to $1.30 per share.
SINGAPORE PRESS HOLDINGS
For more information, please contact:
Ms Irene Ngoo
Assistant Vice President
Singapore Press Holdings
Tel: 6319 1216
Fax: 6319 8150