SPH reports $83.7m loss in FY2020 due to COVID-19

They recorded a non-cash fair value loss of $232m during the period.

Singapore Press Holdings Limited (SPH) registered a net loss of $83.7m (US$61.5m) for FY2020, reversing the net profit of $213.2m (US$156.77m) last year, due to the COVID-19 business disruption.

This was reflected in their non-cash fair value losses of $232m (US$170m) or 3.5% on the investment properties, including retail reduced by $196.5m (US$ 144.5m) and PBSA assets by $31.9m (US$23.5m).

SPH made an operating profit of $110.2m (US$81m) in FY2020, even as the performance of H2 2020 was significantly affected by the “circuit breaker”. Their operating revenue also fell 9.8% to $865.7m (US$636.6m), along with the 31.4% fall in media advertisement revenue to $122.5m (US$90m).

Total costs were 6.8% higher at $844.4m (US$621m) partly due to the increased operational costs of running SPH’s expanded REIT and PBSA portfolio, property tax rebates passed onto tenants, and retrenchment costs.

Meanwhile, their revenue for the media business fell 22.8% to $445.1m (US$334.7m) largely due to the newspaper print advertisement revenue which declined 32.9% or $99.1m (US$72.9m). Circulation revenue held steady, supported by the 52.5% increase in daily average newspaper digital sales of 130,598 copies.

The growth in news tablet subscriptions partly compensated for the 12.6% drop in print copies. Loss before taxation was $11.4m (US$8.3m) compared with a profit of $54.7m (US$40.2m) for FY2019 after taking into account retrenchment costs of $16.6m (US$12.2m). The loss was partially mitigated by $28.1m (US$20.7m) of JSS and a reduction in costs of 7.6% or $42.3m (US$31.1m).

Property segment revenue rose by 10.3% to $327.2m (US$240.6m), boosted by SPH’s acquisition of Westfield Marion and the Student Castle portfolio despite the Covid-19 impact. On the other hand, revenue for retail malls was lifted by the contribution from Westfield Marion of $37.5m (US$27.5m) but rental waivers of $33.8m (US$24.9m) to tenants in Singapore eroded the gains.

Revenue from the PBSA portfolio grew strongly by 60.6% or $22.1m (US$16.6m) due to the Student Castle portfolio and a full year’s revenue from the acquisitions made in FY2019. However, with the fair valuation loss on investment properties of $228.6m (US$168.1m), the property segment turned negative with a loss before taxation of $75.8m (US$55.7m) compared with the $263m (US$193.4m) profit for FY2019.

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