Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) yesterday said second-quarter net profit dipped 1.2 per cent from the same period a year earlier to $53.5 million, as a gain in investment income helped offset a decline in recurring earnings.
For the three months ended Feb 28, recurring earnings from day-to- day operations slipped 22.2 per cent year on year to $53 million.
The fall was cushioned by a $9.5 million increase in investment income, which was due mainly to higher gains on the disposal of some investments.
The share of results of associates and joint ventures also improved, by $3.1 million, partially due to lower losses from the regional online classifieds business.
Group operating revenue dipped 8.2 per cent from the second quarter a year ago, to $238 million.
AT A GLANCE
NET PROFIT: $53.5 million (-1.2%)
REVENUE: $238 million (-8.2%) DIVIDEND PER SHARE: 6 cents (-14.3%)
A slowing economy and continuing disruption in the media industry caused advertising revenue to fall 16.8 per cent from a year ago, leading to an 11.9 per cent decline in revenue in SPH's media business.
Its property business fared better, with revenue inching up 1.3 per cent year on year despite a difficult retail environment, due to higher rental income from SPH's retail assets.
The property business comprises the company's investments in SPH Reit-held Paragon and Clementi malls and the directly owned Seletar Mall. Revenue from the group's other businesses rose 6.5 per cent year on year, led by contributions from the online classifieds business.
Earnings per share for the quarter held steady at three cents, while net asset value per share fell to $2.08 as at Feb 28, from $2.18 at the end of August last year.
Amid the tough business environment, SPH said it maintained its strong emphasis on cost discipline.
Total costs for the quarter fell 3.8 per cent from the same period a year earlier to $188.7 million, despite inflationary pressures on business costs, the company said.
For the half-year ended Feb 28, group recurring earnings fell 25.9 per cent from the same period the year before, to $123.8 million, in tandem with a revenue decline.
Net profit of $99.2 million for the half year was 26.7 per cent lower than the year before.
SPH chief executive officer Alan Chan said that with the uncertain economic outlook and the continuing disruption of the media industry, SPH 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."
On this front, SPH is launching two new radio stations at the start of next year.
The directors have declared an interim dividend of six cents per share, which will be paid on May 24.
SPH shares ended the day four cents lower at $3.52.
Results were announced after the market closed.