Media and property group Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) yesterday reported a near 25 per cent fall in second-quarter net profit to $40.19 million, but first-half earnings edged up 1.4 per cent to $100.62 million.
While the decline in print advertising revenue is seen tapering off, the group said it is focusing on aged care and property asset management for growth.
Chief executive officer Ng Yat Chung said in a statement that SPH's upcoming Bidadari retail and condo project will contribute to the group's growth in the next few years. "We are exploring further growth in aged care and other property asset management sectors for the longer term," he added.
SPH will look at opportunities both locally and overseas.
As it explores other property management sectors, the firm said it will focus on asset classes with steady cash yield in order to generate new sources of revenue and profit. It will also leverage existing capabilities at SPH Reit.
Group operating revenue for the three months to Feb 28 dipped 1.8 per cent to $233.7 million, but the bottom line was weighed down largely by lower investment income, which declined 44.5 per cent to $9.28 million due to lower gains on disposal of investments.
AT A GLANCE
REVENUE: $233.7 million (-1.8%)
NET PROFIT: $40.2 million (-24.9%)
INTERIM DIVIDEND PER SHARE: 6 cents (unchanged)
Turnover from the media business declined 7.4 per cent to $155.6 million on the back of lower advertising and circulation sales.
However, revenue from other businesses rose more than twice to $17.6 million, led by contributions from the aged-care division. SPH owns Singapore's largest private nursing home operator, Orange Valley.
Other operating expenses rose 14 per cent to $31 million, although materials, production and distribution costs were cut by 9.7 per cent and staff costs were down marginally by 0.6 per cent.
In line with lower operating revenue and higher costs, operating profit decreased 6.9 per cent to $49.36 million.
Mr Ng said: "We are focusing on our digital blueprint for the future, which includes our new all-digital subscription plans, and our strengthened integrated multi-platform marketing."
Daily average digital circulation copies rose by 112,000 year-on-year in the second quarter. All-digital subscription plans have been released at different price points as part of efforts to pursue digital revenue more aggressively.
SPH's upcoming joint venture project with Japanese developer Kajima Development, The Woodleigh Residences and The Woodleigh Mall, is expected to add to medium-term profit and the group's longer-term recurring income.
Earnings per share for the quarter came in at two cents, down from three cents previously, while group net asset value per share was $2.14, down from $2.16 on Aug 31.
An interim dividend of six cents per share has been declared.
For the first half-year, SPH saw a 4.6 per cent slide in operating revenue to $492.46 million.
This was dented by a 10.9 per cent fall in turnover to $329.53 million from its media business, although the decline is seen as easing off.
Operating revenue from the property segment - the biggest profit driver for the group - was nearly flat at $121.68 million.