Singapore Press Holdings CEO Ng Yat Chung address reporters at a media conference on 11 October (Source: Yahoo Singapore).

SPH’s profits down again – it’s share price has dropped 30% since Ng came onboard

After the close of the markets last Friday (12 July), it was reported that Singapore Press Holdings’ (SPH) third-quarter profits dropped by 44.1% from $46.91 million last year 3Q to the present $26.2 million.

While their digital media segment posted good improvement in revenues, the traditional print advertisement revenue declined by a 16.7%. Additionally, the circulation revenue was also lower at $2.8 million.

This is not the first time that the media giant has seen substantial declines in its financial performance.

In the previous quarter, profits sank by more than a quarter (25.7%) to $29.69 million while profits for the first quarter were similarly down by 6.3% to $57.9 million.

In the last financial year FY2018, profits for the preceding 12 months were down by 19.7% to $281.1 million.

SPH led by former Chief of Defence Force Ng Yat Chung

As at 3pm today (15 Jul, Mon), SPH’s share price has fallen close to 7% to $2.32. It is almost reaching the 52-week low of $2.29.

Since Lieutenant General (NS) Ng Yat Chung was named the new CEO of SPH in May 2017, SPH’s share price has been sliding from around $3.30 in May 2017 to the current $2.32 (30% drop).

Still, the former SAF general managed to get a descent pay package of $1.9 million with an additional $900,000 worth of share options. Additionally, he also sits on the board of other Temasek-related companies like Singapore Power.

Previously, LG (NS) Ng was heading the Temasek-linked Neptune Orient Lines before it was eventually sold to French Shipping Giant CMA after years of consecutive losses. But within a quarter after taking over, CMA turned NOL back to a $26 million profit in the first quarter of 2017.

Looking through past annual reports, LG (NS) Ng earned at least US$2 million a year for his work at NOL:

• 2011 – Between US$2,150,000 to US$2,299,999
• 2012 – Between US$2,500,000 to US$2,699,999
• 2013 – Between US$2,500,000 to US$2,699,999
• 2014 – Between US$2,300,000 to US$2,499,999
• 2015 – Between US$2,300,000 to US$2,499,999

While Singapore economic growth slows to 0.1% in the last quarter achieving the lowest in a decade with more Singaporeans expected to be retrenched in the coming months, LG (NS) Ng’s million-dollar job appears to be “safe”, despite his dismal performance in SPH.

Perhaps his performance in NOL and SPH is appraised by how much he can lose for the company?