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SPH Reports 1st Half Earnings

Singapore Press Holdings (SGX: T39) saw a 10.5% drop in half-year profit from S$181.6m to S$162.6m. The newspaper publisher and property developer also saw its top-line decline by 4.2% from S$630.9m to S$604.3m.

The company’s Newspaper and Magazine business, which accounted for 80.7% of the company’s revenue for the first half of 2013, did not fare well – its half-year revenue slid by 4.6% from S$511.4m to S$488m, while profit declined by 8.1% from S$170.8m to S$157m.

SPH’s Property business had a better showing than the Newspaper and Magazine segment in the first half of 2013. Operating revenue grew by 3.7% from S$94.9m to S$98.4 while profit increased by 5.4% from S$47.9m to S$50.5m. Paragon and The Clementi Mall, which makes up the Property business, both have 100% occupancy. Rental income from the former grew by S$3.4m while the latter’s remained steady. Adding to its Property business, the company expects The Seletar Mall to be completed by the end of 2014.

The worst performer belonged to the ‘Others’ segment, with the chief culprit being the book publishing and exhibitions business. Sales for the ‘Others’ segment slipped by 26.9% from S$24.6m to S$18m. Losses though, jumped by a huge amount – a 289.4% increase in losses from S$4.8m to S$18.6m.

The company’s strongest newspaper, THE STRAITS TIMES/THE SUNDAY TIMES, saw a drop in print-circulation in the first half of 2013. However, there was an increase in overall circulation to around 380,000 copies due to the growth in digital circulation.

Looking at the remainder of 2013, SPH’s chief executive officer, Mr. Alan Chan commented: “The Group’s advertising revenue performance will be driven by market conditions and consumer sentiment in the key advertising sectors. Against the backdrop of evolving media consumption trends, we will continue to explore opportunities in new growth areas and other adjacent businesses, while striving for a sustained performance in the core newspaper business.”

The company has declared an interim dividend of S$0.07 per share, which is the same as last year’s. Investors have been paying a fair bit of attention to a possible spin-off of SPH’s properties into a real estate investment trust but there has been no update on the issue yet.

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The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. Motley Fool Singapore contributor Chong Ser Jing doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned.