SINGAPORE – Singapore Press Holdings on Tuesday reported a 12.7 per cent rise in profit from operations to $380.8 million in the financial year ended Aug 31, 2005.
Including exceptional charges and gains from the disposal of its stake in StarHub this year, and Times House and its Belgacom stake last year, the company booked a net profit of $494.7 million against $546.3 million the previous year.
Group operating revenue hit the $1.0 billion mark, boosted by revenue from the Group’s core newspaper and magazine operations which grew 7.0 per cent to $891.8 million, and property segment which saw revenues rise 8.3 per cent to $89.4 million.
The gains were partially offset by lower revenue from the broadcasting and multimedia segment which fell 51.6 per cent to $26.3 million as a result of the cessation of the Group’s broadcasting operations on Jan 1, 2005.
Total operating expenses fell 1.2 per cent to $635.4 million, which were largely attributable to cost savings with the cessation of broadcasting operations. This was partially offset by higher newspaper production costs, particularly newsprint cost which increased 14.4 per cent, and higher magazine production costs following the acquisition of Blu Inc media and publishing business and the expansion of the Group’s existing magazine business.
Commenting on the outlook for the next financial year, chief executive officer Alan Chan said: ‘The Group’s advertising revenue is expected to move in tandem with the economy. However, there are concerns over global economic factors, such as the continued pressure on oil prices and interest rate hikes. Barring any adverse development in the economic and geopolitical environment, the directors expect the profit from operations of the Group for the next financial year to be comparable to the current financial year.’
The directors of SPH have proposed a net final dividend of 15.8 cents per share for FY2005, comprising a net normal dividend of 8.0 cents per share and a net special dividend of 7.8 cents per share. This will be paid on Dec 22, 2005. Together with the interim dividend, total net dividend for FY2005 totals 22.8 cents. SPH said it is also reviewing the possibility of paying quarterly dividends.