SPH – BT

SPH profit for Q2 up 30.2% at $113.3m

H1 earnings soar 61.2% to $258m on operating revenue of $672.7m

SINGAPORE Press Holdings has posted a 30.2 per cent increase in second-quarter net profit, as print ad revenue rebounded and property performed strongly.

Net profit for the three months ended Feb 28, 2010, came to $113.3 million – up from $87 million a year back – as operating revenue rose 11 per cent to $318.7 million.

Recurring profit jumped 35.8 per cent to $127.5 million, as revenue from core newspaper and magazine operations grew 8.8 per cent year on year to $222.6 million. A rebound in display and recruitment ad revenue offset a dip in circulation revenue.

Higher revenue from Sky@eleven and higher rental income from Paragon lifted revenue from property operations 18 per cent year on year to $85.2 million.

Net investment income totalled $3.5 million – a turnaround from a $0.1 million loss for Q2 2009.

Q2’s showing meant that first-half net profit surged 61.2 per cent to $258 million and operating revenue climbed 7.2 per cent to $672.7 million.

Chief executive Alan Chan said: ‘The positive trend in our print advertising sales has continued into Q2, and has enabled us to deliver a strong set of first-half results.’

SPH has declared an interim cash dividend of seven cents a share, to be paid on May 21.

Its shares slid a cent to close at $3.93 yesterday.

The group’s net asset value per share was $1.29 as at Feb 28, 2010, up from $1.28 as at Aug 31, 2009. Earnings per share rose two cents to seven cents for Q2 2010, from five cents for Q209.

Operating expenses eased 1.1 per cent year on year to $193.5 million. Lower newsprint costs, factory costs and other overheads offset higher property development and staff costs.

SPH expects a gradual increase in newsprint prices in the coming months, due to cost pressures and tighter market conditions.

Mr Chan said that the group would ‘continue to monitor cost levels closely while at the same time devote resources to optimise and grow its core businesses and invest selectively in adjacent businesses’.

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