Divestments, new income lift SPH's gain

The recently acquired Orange Valley nursing home business helped push up revenue at SPH.
The recently acquired Orange Valley nursing home business helped push up revenue at SPH.PHOTO: ORANGE VALLEY HEALTHCARE

Lower costs also help bottom line amid drop in media revenue

Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) is starting to benefit from cash streams from its other investments amid a decline in its media segment.

The conglomerate reported net profit of $60.4 million in the first quarter, up 32 per cent from the $45.7 million recorded a year earlier.

Operating revenue slipped 7 per cent to $258.8 million due to a 13.9 per cent decline in media revenue to $173.9 million.

Advertisement revenue fell $24.2 million or 16.7 per cent, while circulation revenue dipped $3.1 million or 7.3 per cent.

Revenue from its "others" segment rose $7.7 million or 48 per cent to $23.6 million, due to contributions from the recently acquired Orange Valley nursing home business.

As a result, "others" segmental profit before tax was $3.7 million, reversing from a loss of $1.2 million a year earlier.

On top of new cashflows, cost reductions meant operating profit fell only 4.1 per cent to $67.9 million.

  • AT A GLANCE

  • NET PROFIT $60.4m (+32%)

    REVENUE $258.8 million (-7%)

Staff costs, for example, declined 5 per cent to $85.8 million. The reduction was achieved despite the company boosting overall headcount arising from acquisitions.

Headcount as at the end of November was 4,302, up 5 per cent from 4,107 a year ago. Excluding new acquisitions, headcount was 3,783.

Lower newsprint costs and other operating expenses also helped.

Divestments boosted the bottom line. Other operating income of $8.5 million was in part due to gains from the listing of an associate.

Net income from investments of $12.4 million was due to gains on disposal of investments and dividend income.

Meanwhile, the property segment, which comprises Paragon, The Clementi Mall and The Seletar Mall, remained stable and growing at a low single-digit pace.

Earnings per share for the quarter was four cents, up from three cents in the previous corresponding period, while net asset value per share was $2.21, up from $2.16 three months earlier.

Chief executive Ng Yat Chung said in a statement that the company will roll out new products to deal with the disruption in the core media business.

"At the same time, we will continue to pursue other growth opportunities to diversify revenue streams," he said.

SPH shares closed down two cents at $2.63 yesterday before the results were out.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 13, 2018, with the headline 'Divestments, new income lift SPH's gain'. Print Edition | Subscribe