SPH's media business sees yet another quarter of struggle

Singapore Press Holdings Limited (SPH) faces yet another quarter of struggles for its media business. While its net profit attributable to shareholders was $81.3 million, which is SG$12.0 million or 17.3% higher compared to the same period last year (1Q 2015), revenue for the media business has fallen $21.4 million or 8.7% against the first quarter of 2015.

According to the company this was primarily due to a SG$20.0 million or 10.6% decline in advertisement revenue as “anemic economic growth and a continuously evolving competitive landscape” weighed on the performance of the media business. The results for SPH's Q4 for 2015 had also seen the group's media business contribute to the overall annual net profit drop.

Alan Chan, chief executive officer of SPH blamed this on the “sluggish macroeconomic environment and structural challenges confronting the media industry” but added that overall, the group managed to deliver another set of satisfactory results.

“This is a testament to our efforts in diversifying revenue streams and managing costs effectively," he added

The dip in revenue from the media business was bolstered by the revenue from the group’s other businesses which was up SG$2.3 million or 20.2% against first quarter of 2015. There was higher income from the exhibitions and online classifieds businesses and the share of losses of associates and joint ventures declined by SG$6.2 million or 77.5% against 1Q 2015 mainly due to reduced losses from the regional online classifieds business.

The property segment also continued to register steady growth during the quarter. Revenue rose by SG$8.2 million or 16.0% YOY, lifted by contribution from The Seletar Mall which commenced business on 28 November 2014.

Group operating revenue of SG$296.2 million was SG$10.9 million or 3.5% lower than the same period last year, as higher contribution from the property segment and growth businesses cushioned the slide in the media business.

Meanwhile, investment income for 1Q 2016 was $10.3 million.  The improvement of $8.7 million against the corresponding period last year was mainly due to a fair value loss that was included in 1Q 2015 on forward hedges for portfolio investments. The results reflect the first quarter of business for SPH in 2016 which ended 30 November 2015.