SPH Q1 Profits Down But Claims Growth Strategy ‘On Track’; Nikkei Asian Review Begs To Differ

SPH Derived 2/3 Of Its Profits From Property Investments In Q1 2019

Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) recently released its financial report for the 1st quarter of 2019.

But while some may be interested in the report’s numbers, we were intrigued by how publications’ coverage of the financial record differed from each other.

In particular, Nikkei Asian Review, a Japan-based newspaper reported that SPH is losing advertisers and investors as a result of recent performances, while The Business Times, a news outlet owned by SPH itself, claimed that the group’s growth strategy remains ‘on track’.

Here are some areas that we spotted discrepancies across the 2 reports.

Q1 profit down

The first quarter of 2019 hasn’t been ideal for SPH, if you’re looking purely at their profits and losses.

The group’s profit for the quarter of this year plunged 25.7% to S$29.7 million — one fact that both publications seem to agree on.

The area where both articles disagreed on were the reasons behind this decrease in profit.

On one hand, Nikkei Asian Review reported that the drop was due to “lower media revenue” and “fair value losses” on the group’s property investments.

The Business Times, on the other hand, claimed that the plunge was due to divestments last August, which will reportedly help to generate income for the group in the longer term.

The reasons and rationale cited by The Business Times here clearly paints a much more hopeful narrative, as compared to Nikkei Asian Review’s.

Diversifying into real estate

Despite its name, SPH derives almost 2/3 of its profits from their real estate investment.

Some of these investments in Singapore include household names like Paragon, Clementi Mall, and The Seletar Mall.

But is SPH’s diversification strategy commendable?

The Business Times reported about it more positively, claiming that the group’s property revenue helped to cushion a fall in advertisement revenue.

They also highlighted that SPH’s property revenue were up 15.3% for the first half of 2019.

Nikkei Asian Review’s viewed it from a more negative light, claiming that SPH was having difficulties navigating outside of its core business, which resulted in lower dividends for its investors.

Different interpretation of SPH’s future

Expectedly, both publications also had different takes on SPH’s future.

In light of SPH’s alleged loss of direction and lower profits, Nissin Asian Review reported that stakeholders were already losing confidence in the media group.

This was clearly shown in their headline, which said:

Singapore Press Holdings loses advertisers and investors.

On the other hand, The Business Times ended with a hopeful message from Mr Ng Yat Chung, Chief Executive of the SPH group, which said that the group’s strategy to grow its non-media businesses and digital revenues remains “on track“.

Investors should read up more to make informed decisions

Despite being largely based on the same financial report, it is fascinating how insights in both articles can vary so much across different news outlets.

Perhaps this is why investors and shareholders are encouraged to read up widely in order to make informed decisions on their investments.

Do you think SPH will succeed in restoring investors’ confidence over the longer term, or will this be the start of a dark period for the group? Let us know down below.

Also read:

SPH Reports Higher Q3 Profits But Makes More Money Through Property

Featured image from Campaign Asia.

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