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SPH, SPH Reit directors, senior management take pay cuts


SINGAPORE Press Holdings (SPH) announced on Thursday that its board members will take a voluntary 10 per cent reduction in directors' fees, and the salary of those in senior management will be cut.

The move comes as "an expression of sympathy and solidarity with fellow Singaporeans facing the threat of the Covid-19 pandemic", said SPH, which owns The Business Times, in a statement.

SPH chief executive officer Ng Yat Chung will take a pay cut of 10 per cent; senior management staff will have their salaries cut by 5 per cent.

"The global pandemic has affected our businesses, and posed challenges to our stakeholders. We have volunteered the pay cuts to better position ourselves to ride out this difficult time with our stakeholders," said Mr Ng.

SPH is also the sponsor of SPH Reit (real estate investment trust), which has likewise introduced pay cuts for its chief executive officer (CEO) and senior staff. SPH Reit CEO Susan Leng will take a pay cut of 10 per cent; other senior staff will take pay cuts of 5 per cent.

SPH Reit manager's directors will also be taking a 10 per cent cut in fees. These cuts start next month and will be reviewed at year end.

In addition, SPH Reit said that it will fully pass on its property tax rebate to its tenants "in a targeted manner" in a bid to cushion the impact of Covid-19 on businesses.

This comes as Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced on Thursday that qualifying commercial properties will pay no property tax in 2020, and businesses in other non-residential properties will get a rebate of 30 per cent.

"SPH Reit will pass on fully the property tax rebate received from the Singapore government for its Singapore assets to qualifying tenants adversely impacted by Covid-19," it said in a statement.

It aims to finalise the details of the the enhanced tenants rebate scheme by April and to proactively engage the tenants after that.

It also said that it may consider granting further rental rebates as retail and F&B businesses at malls are expected to be further hit by the stricter measures that have been rolled out to minimise further spread of the novel coronavirus such as the closure of bars and entertainment venues till April 30.

Earlier initiatives by SPH to help those affected by the Covid-19 outbreak include donations and a partnership with Samsung to give out its News Tablet and digital subscriptions to patients and individuals who are being isolated or quarantined in the hospitals and quarantine centres.