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SPH to lay off 5% of media group staff as FY2019 net profit fell 23.4%

(Yahoo News Singapore file photo)

SINGAPORE — Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) on Thursday (17 October) announced that it will lay off five per cent of its staff in the core media group as the conglomerate reported lower net profit and revenue for its 2019 financial year.

In a press release, SPH said the rationalisation exercise is expected to be completed in the current quarter and incur retrenchment costs of about $8 million.

Net profit for the period ended 31 August 2019 fell 23.4 per cent to $213.2 million due mainly to the absence of a one-off gain on divestment of the treasury and investment portfolio.

The group posted a 2.4 per cent drop in overall revenue to $959.3 million.

Revenue for the media business fell 12 per cent to $576.9 million as SPH posted a 14.9 per cent drop in print advertisement revenue and a 7.3 per cent decline in circulation revenue.

Pre-tax profit in the media business fell 44.6 per cent to $54.7 million.

The decline in the media business was partly offset by an increase in newspaper digital copies and newspaper digital advertisement revenue.

Ng Yat Chung, CEO of SPH, said, “The media business continues to be challenged with the decline in print advertisement and circulation revenue. But we are seeing progress in our digital transformation strategy in terms of improved digital advertisement and circulation growth."

Revenue for the property business rose 22.3 per cent to $296.5 million while pre-tax profit in the segment gained 39 per cent to $263 million.

Pre-tax profit for the treasury and investment segment plunged 92 per cent to $8 million.

Revenue in the others segment including for the aged care business rose 1.8 per cent to $85.9 million while pre-tax loss widened 51.9 per cent to $27.3 million.

Headcount at SPH as at end-August fell 1.3 per cent to 4,085 staff.

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