SPH – BT

SPH to make full restoration of pay cuts in January

SINGAPORE Press Holdings (SPH) will be restoring from January the remaining portion of pay cuts that were introduced in April last year.

The media group said yesterday that it will also give a special one-off sum to staff to thank them for the sacrifice and contributions they have made. The one-off payment will be made by January, together with the usual increments, and profit and performance-related bonuses.

In March last year, SPH announced pay cuts of between 2 and 10 per cent of basic monthly salaries, depending on salary levels. The measure was taken in the face of a weaker advertising market and an uncertain business environment resulting from the worldwide financial crisis in 2008 and 2009.

The pay cuts – which did not affect staff earning $2,000 or less in monthly pay – took effect on April 1, 2009.

In January this year, SPH restored half of the pay cuts and made special payouts to staff who had taken a pay cut in 2009. In July, it made another special payout to staff for the pay cut for the first half of this year.

The restoration of the remaining portion from January next year will effectively restore the pay cuts in full.

SPH chief executive officer Alan Chan said: ‘2009 was a difficult year for many companies in Singapore and worldwide. SPH reacted promptly by implementing cost-cutting measures, which included wage cuts across the board. This has helped the group in maintaining its profits in the last financial year.’

SPH’s net profit for the full year ended Aug 31, 2010, rose 18 per cent to $498 million from last year’s $422 million. This was boosted by a rebound in advertisement sales and from profits from its Sky@eleven property project. It also achieved record operating revenue of $1.38 billion – up 6.1 per cent from the preceding financial year. Recurring earnings climbed 8.5 per cent to another record $539 million.

Net income from investments was $39.3 million, a turnaround from last year’s loss of $6.2 million.

The board has also proposed a final dividend of 20 cents a share – comprising a normal dividend of nine cents and a special dividend of 11 cents – to be paid on Dec 23.

SPH shares closed up three cents at $4.25 yesterday.

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