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Year in Review: The Straits Times Index’s Biggest Losers for 2017

The Straits Times Index (SGX: ^STI), which tracks the performance of the 30 largest and most liquid companies listed in Singapore, ended the year at 3402.9 points, rising 18.1% for 2017. This marked the biggest annual gain since 2012.

Of the 30 Straits Times Index components, 23 ended 2017 with gains while seven clocked losses.

The top three losers in the Straits Times Index in 2017 were Singapore Press Holdings Limited (SGX: T39), Comfortdelgro Corporation Ltd (SGX: C52) and Golden Agri-Resources Ltd (SGX: E5H). You can find the top three winners here.

Source: S&P Global Market Intelligence

Singapore Press Holdings and ComfortDelGro have both been facing challenging business conditions due to disruptive technology. The digitalisation of news portals and the appearance of online advertising platforms have affected Singapore Press Holdings’ business while ride-hailing apps such as Uber and Grab are giving ComfortDelGro a run for its money.

For its financial year ended 31 August 2017, SPH’s total revenue tumbled 8.2% to S$1.03 billion while its operating profit plummeted 32.7% to S$205.4 million. You can learn more about the company’s earnings results here.

As for ComfortDelGro, its revenue fell by 2.7% year-on-year to S$2.95 billion in the nine months ended 30 September 2017, while its net profit inched down by 1.6% to S$242 million. The managing director of ComfortDelGro, Yang Ban Seng, said in the company’s earnings release:

“The operating environment has been difficult. Although the public transport services business continued to grow, the taxi business has seen strong competition. But we are in this business for the long haul and we will continue to look at sustainable strategies through strategic alliances. We will also continue to look for opportunities to grow our business in Singapore and overseas.”

And speaking of the strategic alliance, in December, ComfortDelGro announced that it will purchase a 51% stake in Uber’s wholly-owned Singapore car rental subsidiary, Lion City Holdings Pte Ltd, with Uber retaining the remaining 49%.

Lion City Holdings in turn fully owns Lion City Rentals (LCR), a private-hire vehicle fleet owner with around 14,000 vehicles. The deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, is valued at around S$642 million, with a cash consideration of S$295 million.

Palm oil producer, Golden Agri-Resources, posted a 70.8% year-on-year decline in net profit to US$103.1 million for the nine months ended 30 September 2017. The bottom line for the period fell mainly due to the recognition of deferred tax income on revaluation of US$242 million in the previous period. The company’s revenue, however, rose 10.1% to US$5.58 billion. Underlying profit surged 80.3% to US$216.5 million. The figure excludes the net effect of changes in the company’s fair value of biological assets, the depreciation of bearer plants, and other non-operating items.

The SPDR STI ETF (SGX: ES3), an exchange-traded fund which can be taken as a proxy for the Straits Times Index, was valued at 11.1 times trailing earnings and had a dividend yield of 2.9%, as at 29 December 2017.

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Editor's Note: The table has been corrected due to errors in the price change in percentage. We apologise for the errors.

The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. Motley Fool Singapore contributor Sudhan P owns units in SPDR STI ETF.