SINGAPORE (Oct 15): Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) reported FY18 earnings fell 19.7% to $281.1 million from $350.1 million in FY17.

In FY18, the group did not record any gain on divestment of a joint venture compared to $149.7 million recognised in FY17.

Operating revenue for the financial year ended Aug 31 came in 4.8% lower at $982.6 million, compared to $1.03 billion in the same period last year.

This drop in overall operating revenue was led by a 9.6% y-o-y decline in media revenue to $655.8 million. The group’s property revenue also saw a slight decline of 0.7% y-o-y to $242.4 million. But this was partly offset by a 34% y-o-y increase in other revenue to $84.4 million.

Other operating income increased by 18.5% to $23.1 million from $19.5 million a year ago, mainly due to a gain arising from the dilution of interest on the IPO listing of MindChamps Preschool.

Finance costs increased by 19.8% to $37.5 million, compared to $31.3 million in the previous year, mainly due to interest cost on the $280 million term loan taken up during the year to fund the development of The Woodleigh Residences and The Woodleigh Mall.

As at end Aug, the group’s cash and cash equivalents stood at $359.5 million.

The group has proposed a final dividend of 7 cents per share for FY18, comprising a normal dividend of 3 cents per share and a special dividend of 4 cents per share. This is lower than the final dividend of 9 cents per share declared a year ago.

The dividends for FY18 will be payable on Dec 21.

“Print continues to experience headwinds, but we are seeing encouraging results from our efforts to digitise the core Media Business. We are making good progress in growing our Property, Digital Portfolio and Aged Care businesses, including our recently acquired assets in the Purpose-built Student Accommodation sector,” says Ng Yat Chung, CEO of SPH.

SPH and Keppel on Sept 27 announced a pre-conditional voluntary offer for M1 at $2.06 per share. Axiata Group Bhd, the majority shareholder of M1 that holds a 28.7% stake, is currently reviewing its options and has yet to announce its decision.

Shares in SPH closed 1 cent lower at $2.62 on Monday.