Media company Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) reported a 43.8 per cent slide in first-quarter net profit, which came in at $45.7 million.
Group operating revenue for the three months ended Nov 30 fell by 6 per cent over the same period a year earlier to $278.3 million.
SPH said the slowing economy and ongoing disruption of the media industry continued to weigh on its media business, which saw a 9.5 per cent drop in revenue, largely owing to a 13.5 per cent fall in advertisement revenue.
However, circulation revenue was up 1.8 per cent against the same quarter a year earlier, bolstered by the positive impact of newspaper cover price increases implemented on March 1, 2016.
The fall in net profit was due largely to a $28.2 million year-on-year drop in group recurring earnings, the company said in a statement.
This was attributable to charges of $15.9 million from a recently completed review of its media business and impairment of an associate company, and a $12.6 million decline in profits in the media business.
AT A GLANCE
OPERATING REVENUE: $278.3 million (-6%)
NET PROFIT: $45.7 million (-43.8% )
The charges incurred as the group moved to implement initiatives from its media business review comprised mainly $7.2 million of retrenchment and outplacement benefits as part of an ongoing right-sizing exercise - which involved a staff reduction of up to 10 per cent over two years - and an impairment charge of $2.6 million arising from the optimisation of printing capacity.
In addition, the first quarter also saw a net loss from investments of $1.8 million compared with a net gain of $10.3 million in the corresponding period a year earlier, mainly due to a fair value loss on forward hedges for portfolio investments.
The performance of the company's property segment remained resilient, however.
Despite a depressed retail environment, revenue rose 1.3 per cent year on year to $60.5 million on higher rental income from the group's retail properties. The company owns properties including Paragon and The Clementi Mall.
The company said it will be implementing wage restraint measures this year to further contain costs. "Senior management will set the tone with a wage freeze while all other employees will receive a lower annual increment," it said in a statement.
On the business outlook, SPH chief executive Alan Chan said: "Having completed our comprehensive business review in October 2016, we are forging ahead with our transformative agenda to strengthen the group's position in an increasingly tough economic and media environment.
"We will focus on continued innovation and investment in the media business to stay ahead and stay relevant, improve cost efficiency with a leaner organisation and wage restraint measures, and grow business adjacencies to diversify revenue streams."