Singapore Press Holdings has reported a net profit for the second quarter, ended February 29, of $54.1 million, a drop of 22.3 per cent on the previous corresponding period.
The group had benefitted last year from profits on the sale of investments, which meant investment income for the quarter was down was $12 million, or 62.4 per cent, to $7.2 million year-on-year.
At the operating level, group recurring earnings of $68.1 million was flat, with a 4.1 per cent revenue decline that was matched by cost reductions through an ongoing program.
Group operating revenue of $259.3 million was $11 million or 4.1 per cent lower, attributable to the decline in the media business. The performance of these businesses was impacted by a difficult economic environment and structural issues confronting the industry
For the quarter, media business revenue fell $12.2 million, or 6 per cent year-on-year, mainly due to a $9.5 million, or 6.5 per cent, dip in advertisement revenue.
Despite a depressed retail environment, revenue for the property segment inched up $500,000, or 0.9 per cent, year-on-year. The steady growth was achieved on the back of higher rental and services revenue from the group’s retail assets.
Revenue from the group’s other businesses rose $700,000, or 9.5 per cent year-on-year, boosted by a higher contribution from the exhibitions business.
The consistent focus on cost discipline and operating efficiency continued to bear fruit, with total operating expenditure down by $11.3 million, or 5.4 per cent year-on-year, to $196.1 million.
For the half year ended February 29, group recurring earnings of $167.1 million were $3.2 million, or 1.9 per cent, lower than the corresponding period last year, with the decline in revenue cushioned by lower operating expenditure. Net profit fell $3.5 million, or 2.5 per cent year-on-year, to $135.5 million.
SPH chief executive Alan Chan said the quarter was marked by a difficult operating environment.
“The road ahead is expected to remain challenging, given the uncertain economic outlook and fast evolving media landscape,” he said.
“Amid the challenging times, the group will continue its efforts to transform the media business and pursue growth opportunities.
The directors declared an interim dividend of 7 cents per share, which will be paid on May 24.
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