(25 March, 2014, Hong Kong) In its annual results announced today for the 12 months ended 31st “Company”) reported consolidated revenue of approximately HK$2,035.7 million, consolidated profit attributable to shareholders of approximately HK$105.7 million and basic earnings per share of HK12.61 cents. The Company continued to maintain a high dividend pay-out ratio and has declared a final dividend of HK4.0 cents per share for a full year dividend of HK6.0 cents per share.
Compared to the previous year, consolidated revenue decreased by 7.9%, mainly due to further rationalization of the Group’s non-core camera trading unit. The Group’s core Media operations, on the other hand, remained sound and segment revenue fell by 2.0% to approximately HK$1,984.2 million. Consolidated profit dropped by 12.1%, largely due to the presence of a one-off gain of approximately HK$23 million from a joint venture recorded in 2012 which did not recur in 2013. For the same reason, the Media segment’s profit for the Year declined from approximately HK$145.5 million to approximately HK$120.0 million.
Commenting on the Group’s results, the Company’s Chairman Mr. Ho Tsu Kwok, Charles said, “Despite the challenging economic and industry environment, the Group delivered solid results in 2013. Headline Daily has emerged as a definite leader among free newspapers and has reinforced its strengths amid strong competition. Sing Tao Daily remained resilient and proves that there is a place in the market for high quality content and an effective advertising medium”.
December, 2013 (the “Year”), Sing Tao News Corporation Limited (the Headline Daily continued to be the unequivocal number 1 free newspaper in Hong Kong, with its average daily circulation and average readership both ahead of its competitors by a large margin. In view of some competitors having changed ownership or withdrawn from the market, Headline Daily made appropriate adjustments to its daily circulation volume in the second half of 2013 in order to optimize its operating effectiveness. Headline Daily stayed focused on strengthening its core competency in content, and achieved satisfactory growth in advertising revenue and market share.
Sing Tao Daily maintained a relatively stable circulation and readership trend in spite of the competition from free newspapers, while widening the gap with major competitors, and was the only newspaper that recorded readership increases in the third and fourth quarters of 2013 (according to surveys by Ipsos Media Atlas). Although revenue from property advertisements was adversely affected by the new first-hand property sales regulations introduced in early 2013, good growth was gained in non-property categories such as retail and entertainment.
The Standard saw healthy progress in 2013, with revenue growing steadily and bottom line benefiting from lower newsprint prices and effective cost control. The overseas operations of Sing Tao Daily on the whole remained stable.
The Group’s Magazine unit endured a relatively static advertising market for magazines in 2013. In addition, competition from free newspapers and new media led to a decline in circulation sales and readership of magazines in general. As a result, the Magazine unit reported lower revenue and profit in 2013. On the other hand, advancement was made in the online and mobile arena which brought about a substantial increase in its digital media revenue.
In terms of prospects, Mr. Ho commented, “With Headline Daily in a secure leadership position and on a healthy growth path, the Group is better positioned than its peers to take on the ups and downs that may materialize in 2014. We are confident that Headline Daily will continue to outperform its competitors and will become a long term leader in the newspaper market.”
Source: press release