- Turnover: $ 1,280 million
- Net profit: $ 1.8 million
- Net profit before revaluation deficit: $113.8 million
- Earnings per share: HK 0.11 cents
- Earnings per share before revaluation deficit: HK 7.29 cents
- Final dividend distribution per share: HK 4.00 cents
- Total dividend distribution per share for the year: HK 6.00 cents
(Hong Kong, March 30, 2004) – SCMP Group Limited (SEHK: 583) ("the Group") today announced its final results for the year ended December 31, 2003.
Turnover for the year was $1,280 million and net profit was $ 1.8 million, which included a provision of $112 million for revaluation deficit in investment properties. Excluding the revaluation deficit, net profit amounted to $113.8 million or HK 7.29 cents per share.
The Group’s total revenue declined 6% on continued economic weakness made worse by the outbreak of SARS. In response to the business downturn, we implemented several cost saving measures. As a result, operating costs decreased by 7%. Rental and utilities decreased by 15%. Staff costs declined by 12% and headcount was down 4% to 1,247. Cost of production and sales was down 4% primarily due to lower newsprint cost and usage. Advertising and promotion expenses declined 51%.
Besides the revaluation deficit, the Group’s reported earnings included charges for office relocation expenses of $10.9 million and charges due to changes in accounting standard for deferred tax of $8.5 million.
The Board declared a final dividend distribution of HK 4 cents per share. Together with the interim dividend distribution of HK 2 cents already paid out, dividend distributions for the year totaled HK 6 cents, representing a payout of 82% of net profit before revaluation deficit in 2003.
Commenting on the results and business prospects ahead, Mr. Kuok Khoon Ean, Chairman of the SCMP Group, said, "2003 turned out to be one of the most unpredictable and difficult years in decades for our Company and our clients. In the same year that we faced the unprecedented challenges of SARS, we also recorded an extraordinary moment in the Company’s history. In November 2003, we celebrated the centenary of our flagship publication, the South China Morning Post.
Over the last century, much has changed and much has been accomplished. We look forward to the next year and beyond with a renewed sense of purpose and confidence. Although we cannot control the external forces that shape our operating environment, we can control how we manage our business and execute our strategy. The SCMP Group’s emphasis for 2004 is on profitable market share and operating discipline.
Our long-term focus remains unchanged: delivering relevant content to our readers, offering new platforms and enhancing our ability to serve our advertisers, and making strategic investments to enhance the value of our existing assets or extend our brand. These strategies combined with strong financial discipline place us in a strong position to pursue opportunities for growth as they arise."
About South China Morning Post Publishers Limited
SCMP Group Limited is the holding company of South China Morning Post Publishers Limited, publisher of Hong Kong’s leading English language newspapers South China Morning Post and Sunday Morning Post, and other publishing subsidiaries. The Group’s core business is newspaper and magazine publishing. It also holds interests in retailing and other businesses and investments. The Group’s shares are listed on The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited.
For media enquiry, please contact:
Marketing and Communications
SCMP Group Limited
Tel: (852) 2250 3130
Fax: (852) 2565 2429