8 Quick Things Investors Should Learn About Singapore Press Holdings Limited

Singapore Press Holdings Limited  (SGX: T39), which is better known as SPH, is one of the cool companies in Singapore that shares webcasts and/or transcripts of their quarterly earnings presentations (the link for SPH is here).

SPH may be best known as a publisher of most of the major newspapers in Singapore. But beyond the papers, the company also engages in property development and other activities such as event management. In addition, the company is the majority owner and manager of SPH REIT (SGX: SK6U), which owns the retail malls, Paragon and The Clementi Mall.

You can learn more about SPH in here and here.

What’s the story?

Below are eight useful things I learned from listening to SPH’s fourth-quarter earnings webcast for the fiscal year ended 31 August 2015 (FY2015):

  1. In the fiscal year, SPH’s media-related businesses were consolidated into one segment. With this, the Newspaper and Magazine segment were aptly renamed as the Media segment. The other two segments are Property and Others.
  2. The Media and Property segements were the major contributors to SPH’s operating revenue, making up 77% and 19%, respectively, of the total pie.
  3. Meanwhile, the Others segment, which consists of activities such as exhibitions and online classifieds, made up less than 4% of overall revenue. The segment suffered a loss of $38.6 million in FY2015, marking a slight improvement from the loss of S$50 million made in the previous year.
  4. The Media segment’s revenue comes mainly from advertising and circulation. The advertisement sub-segment can be further broken down into display, classifieds, and magazine & others. Display revenue was the largest, contributing $377 million in FY2015.
  5. Unfortunately, FY2015’s newspaper ad revenue declined by 8.7% year-on-year. This follows FY2014’s 7.4% drop.
  6. The daily average newspaper circulation for SPH was flat year-on-year. Composition wise, digital circulation had become more prominent in FY2015. Digital circulation for The Straits Times/The Sunday Times is now roughly a third of the total circulation of said paper (digital and print) of ~460,000 copies.
  7. SPH has a $1.2 billion group investable fund which consists of equities, bonds, investment funds, and cash and deposits. The fund’s holdings include local telcos Starhub Ltd (SGX: CC3) and M1 Ltd (SGX: B2F). The fund has returned around 4.1% annually since its inception in 2001.
  8. SPH has a couple of dominant web properties. To that point, SGCarMart and STCars are the number one and two classified sites in Singapore. Another web property, SRX, is considered an authoritative source for Singapore’s real estate market.

Foolish takeaway

To buy and hold a company’s shares for the long term also means the need to keep up with developments in the firm.

The access to management teams via webcasts and/or transcripts gives the Foolish investor a fair chance to judge for themselves whether they would like to be invested alongside those teams. It also helps us put together a more complete thesis around a company and keep up with developments in its industry.

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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 Chin Hui Leong doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned.