SPH reports first quarter net profit of $81.3m, up 17.3%

SINGAPORE - Singapore Press Holdings Limited (SPH) today reported its results for the first quarter ended Nov 30, 2015 (Q1 2016). Net profit attributable to shareholders was $81.3 million. This was $12.0 million or 17.3 per cent higher compared to the same period last year (Q1 2015).

At the operating level, group recurring earnings was $99.0 million, some $3.4 million or 3.3 per cent lower than the same period last year.

Investment income for Q1 2016 was $10.3 million. The improvement of $8.7 million against the corresponding period last year was mainly due to a fair value loss that was included in Q1 2015 on forward hedges for portfolio investments.

The share of losses of associates and joint ventures declined by $6.2 million or 77.5 per cent against Q1 2015, due to reduced losses from the regional online classifieds business.

Group operating revenue of $296.2 million was $10.9 million or 3.5 per cent lower than the same period last year, as higher contribution from the Property segment and growth businesses cushioned the slide in the Media business.

Revenue for the Media business fell $21.4 million or 8.7 per cent against Q1 2015, primarily due to a $20.0 million or 10.6 per cent decline in advertisement revenue as anaemic economic growth and a continuously evolving competitive landscape weighed on the performance of the Media business.

The Property segment continued to register steady growth during the quarter. Revenue rose by $8.2 million or 16.0 per cent YOY, lifted by contribution from The Seletar Mall which commenced business on Nov 28, 2014.

Revenue from the Group's other businesses was up $2.3 million or 20.2 per cent against Q1 2015, bolstered by higher income from the exhibitions and online classifieds businesses.

For the quarter, total operating expenditure dipped $2.5 million or 1.2 per cent to $205.7 million, a result of the Group's continued emphasis on cost discipline and operating efficiency.

On the outlook for FY2016, Mr Alan Chan, Chief Executive Officer of SPH, said: "Despite the sluggish macroeconomic environment and structural challenges confronting the media industry, the Group managed to deliver another set of satisfactory results. This is a testament to our efforts in diversifying revenue streams and managing costs effectively."

"That said, the operating environment for FY2016 is expected to remain difficult, in view of the economic outlook and an increasingly fragmented media landscape. To address the challenges ahead, the Group will redouble its efforts to sustain the Media business, including adjacent businesses, and continue to evaluate and pursue growth opportunities."