SPH – BT

SPH posts Q2 net profit of $84m

Operating revenue rose 3.7% to $298m; recurring earnings rose 14.2% over the year to $90m

SINGAPORE Press Holdings (SPH) yesterday reported an 11.6 per cent rise in net profit for the second quarter, lifted by higher rental income from its operations of two shopping malls and a slight boost in print advertising revenue.

SPH said net profit for the three months ended Feb 29, 2012, stood at $84.1 million, up from $75.4 million the same period a year ago.

But this translated to earnings per share (EPS) of five cents for the quarter, representing flat growth in EPS compared with the year-ago period.

Operating revenue for the publishing giant rose 3.7 per cent to $298 million. Recurring earnings for Q2 rose 14.2 per cent over the year to $90.1 million.

The group's recurring earnings for its media and property businesses refer to profit before investment income and share of net loss or profit of associates and jointly controlled entities.

Rental income for the group rose 21.6 per cent to $48 million for the period. Clementi Mall recorded rental income of $9.2 million, which is $7.8 million higher than the same period a year ago, during which the mall was not fully operational.

Revenue from Paragon was up by 1.7 per cent, or $700,000, thanks to higher rental rates.

Turnover from SPH's newspaper and magazine business registered flat growth at $235 million, dragged down by a fall in circulation revenue.

Print advertisement revenue nudged higher by 0.8 per cent to $178 million, though circulation revenue was down 1.1 per cent at $49.7 million. Operating revenue from the group's other businesses also rose 12.9 per cent in Q2 to $15.9 million over the year, due mainly to growth in the Internet business.

Net income from investments for the quarter plunged 57.4 per cent to $4.37 million, given a reversal of provision for a loss on derivatives last year.

Share of net profit of associates and jointly controlled entities stood at $2.41 million, swinging from a net loss of $216,000 a year ago. These would include profits from MediaCorp Press, MediaCorp TV Holdings, and OpenNet, and net losses from its other media investments, SPH said.

Staff costs – SPH's biggest cost component – dipped 0.3 per cent to $90 million, due to lower variable bonus provision that was partially offset by salary increments.

For the half-year period, net profit was up 2.2 per cent at $182 million, with operating revenue for the six months rising 4 per cent to $631 million.

SPH will pay out an interim dividend of seven cents per share. Shares of SPH closed unchanged at $3.89 yesterday.

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