SPH's Q3 net profit jumps 64.3%

Singapore Press Holdings' net profit for the three months ended May 31 was $47.4 million.

SINGAPORE - Media and property group Singapore Press Holdings posted a 64.3 per cent increase in its third-quarter net profit, bolstering its nine-month bottom line by 15.6 per cent.

Net profit for the three months ended May 31 was $47.4 million, compared to $28.9 million for the same period last year, on lower impairment charges and higher group operating profit.

Earnings per share was three cents, up from two cents previously.

Nine-month net profit rose 15.6 per cent to $148 million.

The group recognised $22.3 million of impairment charges on goodwill and intangibles for the third quarter compared to $37.8 million for the previous corresponding period.

Operating profit of $44.4 million was 29.6 per cent higher compared to the same period last year. Excluding the impairment charges, operating profit was 7.4 per cent year-on-year lower at $5.3 million.

Third-quarter group operating revenue was 3.8 per cent lower at $250.1 million compared to the corresponding year-ago period.

Declines in revenues from media and property businesses were partly offset by higher contributions from aged care, education and other businesses.

SPH CEO Ng Yat Chung said in a statement: "We are making efforts to diversify with new growth thrusts. Our new strategy is to focus on the acquisition of cash-yielding real estate assets overseas. We are also preparing the aged care business for overseas expansion."

The group has set up a new asset management company Straits Capitol in the United Kingdom to actively review a strong pipeline of deals.

In Singapore, its property arm has to grapple with changing dynamics after new cooling measures on home purchases kicked in on July 6.

SPH said that it is still monitoring the potential impact of the cooling measures on The Woodleigh Residences, its joint project with Kajima Development.

Mr Ng also pointed to a slower decline of media revenue as the group pressed on with its efforts to face its digital challenges head on.

SPH announced three key management appointments during Q3 that will help bolster its "First to Digital initiatives".

Ignatius Low, formerly head of media solutions, was appointed chief marketing officer and tasked to spearhead the group's integrated marketing strategy.

Glen Gary Francis was appointed chief technology officer (CTO) and Gaurav Sachdeva chief product officer (CPO).

Mr Francis is responsible for the technologies and digital capabilities for SPH's businesses while Mr Sachdeva will help develop the vision, design, development and monetisation of SPH's digital media content and products.

SPH shares closed at $2.75 on Wednesday, down two cents. The results were announced after market close.

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