SINGAPORE - Singapore Press Holdings said net profit for the second quarter fell marginally by 1.2 per cent from the same period a year ago to $53.5 million, as a decline in recurring operating earnings was cushioned by an increase in investment income.
Recurring earnings fell 22.2 per cent from a year ago to $53 million, while investment income rose $9.5 million, mainly due to higher gains on the disposal of investments.
The share of results of associates and joint ventures also improved, by $3.1 million from the second quarter a year ago, partially due to lower losses from the regional online classifieds business.
Group operating revenue dipped 8.2 per cent from a year ago to $238 million.
Amid a slowing economy and the continuing disruption of the media industry, SPH's media business saw an 11.9 per cent year-on-year decline in revenue as advertisement revenue fell 16.8 per cent from a year ago.
Despite headwinds in the retail environment, the property segment continued to deliver steady results as revenue inched up 1.3 per cent from a year ago.
The resilient performance was achieved on the back of higher rental income from SPH's retail assets.
Revenue from the company's other businesses rose 6.5 per cent year-on-year, led by contributions from the online classifieds business.
SPH maintained a strong emphasis on cost discipline throughout the quarter, with total costs for the period falling 3.8 per cent from a year ago to $188.7 million despite inflationary pressures.
For the half year ended Feb 28, group recurring earnings fell 25.9 per cent year-on-year to $123.8 million in tandem with a revenue decline.
Net profit of $99.2 million was 26.7 per cent lower than in the first half of last year.
SPH chief executive officer Alan Chan said that with the uncertain economic outlook and the continuing disruption of the media industry, the firm will press on with its transformation strategy.
"We are making steady progress in positioning SPH as a forward-looking and efficient organisation which can meet the evolving demands of a new marketplace."
Mr Chan added: "We continue to focus on our drive to sustain and transform the core media business through investment in growth areas and cost discipline, while also pursuing other opportunities to diversify revenue streams."
As part of this effort, SPH is launching two new radio stations at the start of next year.
SPH directors have declared an interim dividend of six cents a share, which will be paid on May 24.