Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) announced on Monday (18 Jan) that its media segment was hit by low print advertising revenue in its Q1 results ending Nov 2020.
SPH attributes the lower newspaper print advertisement revenue to the present coronavirus pandemic. However, its student accommodation as well as aged care segments remained stable.
For Q1, SPH’s print advertisement revenue declined 36 per cent compared to that a year ago. Its overall year-to-date circulation was up 1.8 per cent from a year ago, with digital circulation included. The growth in digital circulation in Q1 was largely due to the huge boost from 31,000 subscriptions for news tablets across all SPH’s major newspaper titles.
In its student accommodation segment, SPH said it has achieved 88 per cent of target revenue for the academic year 2020/2021 as at Jan 8, 2021. It is also tapping its network of more than 28 agents globally to reach out to international students in key markets such as China, India and Cyprus.
As for its aged care business segment, SPH said that the overall bed occupancy rate at Orange Valley assets stood at 81 per cent as at end of 1Q (Nov 2020). Orange Valley was in the news in 2019 when one of its nurse by the name of Bernardo JR Perdido Ramos was jailed for punching a 77-year-old elderly patient. The nurse went into a rage and punched the patient who suffers from dementia when the patient shouted at him.
With regard to its aged care business, SPH said that it will continue to acquire aged homes in a “prudent and disciplined approach” to develop the business.
SPH CEO receives more than $1.3m salary, bonuses and shares, while company losing money
Meanwhile, it was reported that in the last financial year 2020, which ended 31 Aug, SPH posted a net loss of S$83.7 million.
SPH’s revenue from media advertising declined by a staggering 31.4 per cent. Revenue for the media business also shrank by 22.8 per cent in the last FY.
Segments significantly hit even include its property business. SPH’s student accommodation assets were hit by non-cash fair value losses of S$232 million. The valuation of its retail malls fell by S$196.5 million while that of its student accommodation assets fell by S$31.9 million respectively.
Without the government grants of S$68.5 million through the Jobs Support Scheme, SPH’s net loss would have been even higher. SPH CEO Ng Yat Chung attributed his company’s losses to COVID-19.
“All our major business segments were severely disrupted by Covid-19. Our media business is badly affected by the collapse in advertising,” he said.
Despite losing money for the first time in the history of SPH, CEO Ng Yat Chung was awarded with bonuses and shares, on top of his $1,350,000 salary.