SPH Q3 net profit down 45.2% due to one-off impairment charge

SINGAPORE - Singapore Press Holdings said on Friday (Jul 14) that third-quarter net profit fell 45.2 per cent from the same period a year ago to $28.9 million.

This was mainly due to impairment charges of $37.8 million from the magazine business, whose performance continued to deteriorate further amid unfavourable market conditions.

At the operating level, group recurring earnings for the three months ended May fell 43.6 per cent from the same period a year ago to $34.3 million.

Excluding the impairment charges, group recurring earnings would have fallen by 19.2 per cent, mainly to due a decline in media revenue.

Group operating revenue slid 10.8 per cent year-on-year to $260 million, as the performance of the media business continued to be hurt by the disruption of the media industry and a muted economic environment.

Reflecting the challenging business climate, the media business saw a 15.7 per cent year-on-year dip in operating revenue as advertisement revenue fell 18.7 per cent and circulation revenue declined 10.6 per cent from the same period a year ago.

Despite a depressed retail environment, the property segment delivered 2 per cent revenue growth compared with the third quarter a year ago.

The steady performance was achieved on the back of higher rental income from SPH's retail assets.

Revenue from SPH's other businesses was 8.2 per cent higher, with the maiden contribution from the newly acquired healthcare business partially offset by lower revenue from the exhibitions business.

On the cost front, SPH said it has continued to exercise stringent cost discipline.

Excluding the impairment charges, total costs for the quarter were 6.7 per cent lower year-on-year despite inflationary pressures.

Investment income fell 37.4 per cent, due to a fall in dividend income and lower fair value gains on hedges for portfolio investments.

SPH completed the sale of 701Search last month and expects to recognise a profit of approximately $150 million from the divestment in the next reporting period.

701Search operates an online classifieds business in Malaysia, Vietnam and Myanmar.

On the business outlook, chief executive officer Alan Chan said: "The group will forge ahead with its drive to transform the core media business. We have pursued other growth opportunities to diversify revenue streams. To date, we have made steady progress with the recent acquisition of Orange Valley Healthcare and our joint venture winning the tender to develop a mixed commercial and residential site at Bidadari."