|Hong Kong, March 22, 2010 – The SCMP Group Limited today announced the audited final results for the year ended December 31, 2009.
Total revenue for the year was HK$740.7 million, and recurring operating profit for the year after staff costs, production materials, rental and utilities, depreciation, amortization, marketing costs and other operating expenses totaled HK$45.6 million, down from HK$227.6 million in 2008.
Operating profit for the year was HK$185.2 million, compared with HK$152.1 million for the full year in 2008. This included a revaluation gain (before tax impact) of HK$134.9 million in 2009 while there was a revaluation loss of HK$81.2 million in 2008. Full year net profit after income tax and other losses was HK$148.1million. Profit attributable to Shareholders of the Company amounted to HK$138.2 million.
Basic earnings per share from continuing operations came to 8.9 cents per share.
"We are pleased to deliver a turnaround in profitability from a very challenging first half of the year, and continue to see a positive impact on our business as the economy stabilizes," said Managing Director & CEO Ms. Kuok Hui Kwong. "Our results reflect our ability to restructure our business in response to a challenging economic environment, our continued brand strength, and our ability to deliver innovative and comprehensive solutions to attract advertisers increasingly under pressure."
Despite a 1.7% drop in audited circulation from second half 2008 to 100,860 during the first half of 2009, the group remain confident that the South China Morning Post would see some improvement in the second half of the year, although HKABC audited figures were not yet available at the time of going to press. Conversely, full year readership figures for the daily and weekend editions including SCMP.com showed an increase from 359,000 in 2008 to 376,000 in 2009 (Nielsen Media Index Year End report 2009).
Display advertising revenues declined 32% relative to 2008 as the economic downturn caused advertisers to reduce spending, but the group saw clear signs of recovery in the fourth quarter and are developing new products to capture higher market share.
The Group’s leading women’s titles in Hong Kong, Cosmopolitan, CosmoGIRL! and Harper’s Bazaar, all remain well positioned for the future. However, the Group ceased publication of Maxim in China. Cosmopolitan, which reached a 25th year anniversary milestone in 2009, was able to grow its circulation by 3% during the year. Overall, however, the magazine portfolio saw a 19% reduction in revenue in 2009.
Editorially, the group enjoyed a significant number of award wins, including 8 top awards and 4 honourable mentions in the prestigious Society of Publishers in Asia Editorial Awards, and 16 wins in the Hong Kong News Awards, amongst others.
"We remain cautiously optimistic about 2010." said Ms. Kuok. "From our recent launch of an enhanced and comprehensive recruitment product, to our proven continued strength as a foremost information leader on Hong Kong and Mainland China, SCMP is well positioned to build upon a solid foundation and grow. Our key focus going forward is to leverage our strengths and core competencies to build a broader business base."
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