SPH posts 17% rise in first-quarter earnings

Contributions from The Seletar Mall in Sengkang gave a boost to SPH's property segment, which saw a 16 per cent rise in revenue to $59.7 million in the first quarter.
Contributions from The Seletar Mall in Sengkang gave a boost to SPH's property segment, which saw a 16 per cent rise in revenue to $59.7 million in the first quarter.ST FILE PHOTO

Media and property business sees $81.3m net profit amid slow economy, industry changes

Media and property company Singapore Press Holdings posted a jump in first-quarter earnings, thanks to efforts in diversifying revenue streams and managing costs.

Net profit grew 17.3 per cent to $81.3 million for the three months to Nov 30, compared with the same period a year earlier.

"Despite the sluggish macroeconomic environment and structural challenges confronting the media industry, the group managed to deliver another set of satisfactory results," said chief executive Alan Chan in a statement yesterday.

Operating revenue for the first quarter slid 3.5 per cent to $296.2 million despite higher contribution from the property segment and the growth businesses.

Revenue from the company's media business fell 8.7 per cent year on year to $223 million, primarily due to a $20 million decline in advertising revenue.

A slowdown in the economy and structural changes in the industry have weighed on the performance of the media business, said SPH. Circulation revenue fell $2.2 million although the overall circulation numbers were boosted by digital sales.

  • AT A GLANCE

  • NET PROFIT:

    $81.3 million (+17.3%)

  • REVENUE:

    $296.2 million (-3.5%)

The property segment continued to register steady growth in the first quarter, with revenue up 16 per cent to $59.7 million due to contributions from The Seletar Mall.

Higher income from the exhibitions and online classifieds businesses grew revenue for the other businesses by 20.2 per cent to $13.5 million.

Total operating expenditure for the quarter dipped 1.2 per cent to $205.7 million, a result of a continued emphasis on cost discipline and operating efficiency, said SPH.

Earnings per share for the quarter increased to five cents, up from four cents a year earlier.

Net asset value was $2.28 as at the end of November last year, up from $2.24 as of Aug 31 last year.

Mr Chan said that the operating environment for the year is expected to remain difficult.

"To address the challenges ahead, the group will redouble its efforts to sustain the media business, including adjacent businesses, and continue to evaluate and pursue growth opportunities," he said.

SPH shares closed four cents down at $3.67 yesterday, ahead of the results announcement.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 13, 2016, with the headline 'SPH posts 17% rise in first-quarter earnings'. Print Edition | Subscribe