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SPH's Q2 net profit falls on lower investment income

MEDIA and property group Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) on Tuesday reported a near 25 per cent year-on-year fall in net profit to around S$40.19 million for the second quarter ended Feb 28, 2018, weighed down by lower investment income.

For the quarter under review, investment income slumped 44.5 per cent to S$9.28 million due to lower gains on disposal of investments.

Operating revenue dipped 1.8 per cent to S$233.7 million as revenue from the media business declined 7.4 per cent to S$155.6 million, on the back of lower advertisement and circulation revenue. However, revenue from the group's other businesses rose S$9.6 million to S$17.63 million, led by contributions from the aged care business.

Meanwhile, operating profit decreased 6.9 per cent to S$49.36 million, while earnings per share clocked S$0.02, versus S$0.03 in Q2 2017.

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The board has declared an interim dividend of six Singapore cents per share, unchanged from the corresponding period last year. This will be paid on May 24, said the group, which owns newspapers such as The Business Times.

For H1 2018, net profit attributable to shareholders edged up 1.4 per cent year on year to S$100.62 million, despite a 4.6 per cent decline in operating revenue to S$492.46 million.

Operating revenue in H1 2018 was weighed down by a 10.9 per cent fall in revenue to S$329.53 million from its media business, although the decline in print ad revenue is seen as tapering off.

Ng Yat Chung, chief executive officer of SPH, said: "We are focusing on our digital blueprint for the future, which includes our new all-digital subscription plans, and our strengthened integrated multi-platform marketing. Our upcoming joint venture project The Woodleigh Residences and The Woodleigh Mall will contribute to our growth in the next few years."

He added: "We are also exploring further growth in aged care and other property asset management sectors for the longer term."

Shares in SPH closed at S$2.49 on Tuesday, down one cent, before the results were released.