SPH undergoing strategic review to consider options for its various businesses

SINGAPORE – Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) will be undergoing a strategic review to consider the options for its various businesses.

The objective of the review is to “unlock and maximise long-term shareholder value”, the group announced on Tuesday (March 30).

While the media business continues to face a challenging operating environment and outlook, the board of directors believes that the company remains undervalued, it added.

Credit Suisse (Singapore) has been appointed as its financial adviser for the review.

This comes as SPH posted a net profit of $97.9 million, as its various businesses recover from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The group, which publishes The Straits Times, reported a 26.1 per cent rise in net profit for the first half of the financial year that ended on Feb 28, it said on Tuesday.

The company remains operationally profitable at $119.8 million, an increase of 16.6 per cent.

Overall, total revenue dropped 4.2 per cent to $460.3 million, with a decline in operating revenue from the media business.

The decline was partially offset by higher rental income of $15.4 million, mainly from purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) and the retail and commercial segment. It was also cushioned by a grant income of $15 million from the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS).

The total costs dropped by 9.8 per cent to $340.5 million, mainly due to lower materials, production, distribution costs which fell 40.9 per cent, or $23.9 million, with the decline in revenue from media and exhibitions. Disciplined cost management also reduced staff costs by 4.6 per cent to $158 million due to a lower headcount.

On the strategic review, the company said there is no assurance that this will result in any transaction or that any definitive or binding agreement will be reached.

“SPH will, in compliance with applicable rules, make further announcements as appropriate. Shareholders are advised to exercise caution when dealing in the shares of the company and to refrain from taking any action in respect of their investments which may be prejudicial to their interests,” it added.

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