SPH net profit down 19.7% for FY2018 as media business revenue fell

Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) on Monday (15 October) reported a 19.7 per cent fall in net profit for financial year 2018 as the company’s core media business continued to come under pressure.

Net profit for the period ended 31 August 2018 declined $69 million to $281.1 million due partly to a one-off gain on divestment of a joint venture recorded in FY 2017. Excluding one-offs, net profit rose 2.4 per cent.

The group posted a 4.8 per cent drop in overall revenue to $982.6 million.

Revenue for the media business fell 9.6 per cent to $655.8 million as SPH posted lower revenue in display, classified and newspaper advertisements.

The decline in the media business was cushioned by lower staff costs, newsprint costs and depreciation charges. Pre-tax profit in the segment fell 18.9 per cent to $92.8 million.

Revenue for the property business was flat at $242.4 million while pre-tax profit in the segment declined 6.9 per cent to $151.8 million.

The revenue decline in the media and property segments was offset by growth in the others segment. Revenue in the segment – comprising the digital portfolio and the aged care businesses – grew 34 per cent to $84.4 million.

Headcount at SPH as at end-August fell 6.2 per cent to 4137 staff.

Ng Yat Chung, CEO of SPH, said, “Print continues to experience headwinds, but we are seeing encouraging results from our efforts to digitise the core media business. We are making good progress in growing our property, digital portfolio and aged care businesses, including our recently acquired assets in the purpose-built student accommodation sector.”