SINGAPORE (Aug 1): As part of what its CEO and director calls a “painful but necessary” revamp of its business model, Global Yellow Pages (GYP) has announced that it will be restructuring its business to focus on real estate as its core business, and cease publication of the print directories that the company’s name has become synonymous with, from 2018.

Arising from the closure of the print directories and the restructure of its digital business will be retrenchments, says the group, which adds that it is in the process of assisting the employees affected by it.

Production is now underway for the last print editions of Yellow Pages, Yellow and White Pages Chinese, and White Pages Business Listings, which will be distributed to their respective consumers later this year.

The group’s digital products will continue to operate under a newly incorporated entity, Yellow Pages.

In a Tuesday announcement, GYP explains that it has diversified into the real estate business in recent years, in addition to the existing Search business, to transform and build a more resilient company.

Plans are underway to maximise the development potential of Pakuranga Plaza, a shopping mall it acquired in Auckland, New Zealand, in 2015.

The group has also received resource consent from Queenstown Lakes District Council to construct 225 residential dwellings on a plot of freehold land it acquired in Queenstown, New Zealand, for which it has launched phase one of the residential project, Remarkable Residences, in June this year.

As such, GYP’s real estate segment has markedly been the biggest contributor to its revenue and total assets since FY16.

Meanwhile, it notes that its Search business has declined significantly y-o-y, which has led to the group to the decision of restructuring its business and entering into a joint venture agreement with Yellow Pages to handle digital directories, data and online offerings under a licence granted by GYP to the newly-incorporated company.

GYP will have a 20% stake in Yellow Pages as well as a 10% stake in Page Advisor Holdings (PAH), which is also a shareholder of Yellow Pages and is founded by online entrepreneur Fabian Lim.

The group says its interest in the two companies will allow it to participate and benefit from their potential growth and success in the digital sphere, while it focuses on the real estate core business.

Together, Lim and PAH will have a combined 45% stake in Yellow Pages.

“We are working with the Singapore Manual and Mercantile Workers’ Union to render our [retrenched] staff with assistance during this difficult period,” says Stanley Tan, CEO and Director of GYP.

“With this painful but necessary revamp of our Yellow Pages business model and the group gaining increasing traction in property, we are building a business that is significantly more resilient and we will continue to seek opportunities to further add value to the group.”

Update: Shares in GYP closed 2 cents higher at 17 cents on Tuesday.