SCMP Group Limited Interim Results

– Interim results for the six months period ended 30 June 2003


  • Turnover: HK$613.6 million (2002: HK$669.9 million; down by 8 %)
  • Net profit: HK$ 34.0 million (2002: HK$90.1 million; down by 62 %)
  • Earnings per share: HK2.18 cents (2002: HK5.19 cents; down by 58 %)
  • Interim dividend distribution per share: HK 2 cents

(Hong Kong, September 5, 2003) – SCMP Group Limited (SEHK: 583) ("the Group") today announced its interim results for the six months ended June 30, 2003.

Turnover for the first six months of the year was HK$ 613.6 million and net profit was HK$34.0 million, which included a charge of HK$8.5 million for the impact of a change in accounting standard and an increase in corporate tax rate relating to deferred tax and HK$10.9 million for office relocation and reorganisation expenses.

The Group’s consolidated revenue decreased by 8 % compared with the same period last year. The SARS outbreak in March had a material adverse impact on the Group’s core business of newspapers and magazines publishing. Advertising revenue for the newspaper division was down 19 %. Despite several cost saving measures implemented during the period, EBITDA decreased by 14 % to HK$109.4 million.

Operating costs before depreciation decreased by 7 % to HK$504.2 million, as a result of a reduction in headcount, lower newsprint costs, rental reduction from the disposal of a subsidiary and a cutback in advertising and promotion expenses. Staff costs were down 12% due to headcount reductions, a temporary salary reduction program, and the sale of non-core businesses. As at June 30, 2003, the Group had 1,262 employees compared to 1,293 as at December 31, 2002 and 1,321 as at June 30, 2002. Newsprint cost and usage were lower by 23% and 10%, respectively. Rental and utilities also decreased by 14% as a result of the sale of non-core businesses.

The Board declared an interim dividend distribution of HK 2 cents per share.

Commenting on the business prospects ahead, Kuok Khoon Ean, Chairman of the Group said, "Whilst there are signs of recovery from SARS boosted in part by the Government economic stimulus package, unemployment continues to rise to record levels and deflationary pressures continue to affect some sectors. Against this backdrop, advertising and circulation sales have improved but the pace and strength of such recovery remain uncertain.

Our long-term focus remains unchanged: delivering quality content that is relevant to our readers, offering an enhanced ability to serve our customers, and making strategic investments to enhance the value of our existing assets and extend our brand. We will continue with these initiatives, combined with strong financial discipline, to position our businesses for growth as we enter our centenary year."


About SCMP Group 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. SCMP Group is also involved in magazines and books publishing, retailing, commercial and business video and film post-production and investments. The Group’s shares are listed on The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited.


For media enquiry, please contact:

Prudence Lai
Public Relations Manager
Marketing and Communications
SCMP Group Limited
Tel: (852) 2565 2415
Fax: (852) 2565 2429