- Turnover: HK$632.9 million
- Operating profit: HK$217.9 million
- Profit attributable to shareholders: HK$175.0 million
- Earnings per share (HK cents): 11.2
- Dividend (HK cents): 8.0
Hong Kong, 13, September 2007 — SCMP Group Limited (SEHK: 583) ("the Group") reported a 19% growth in profit attributable to shareholders to HK$175.0 million for the first six months ended June 30, 2007. Turnover rose 9% to HK$632.9 million.
The Board of Directors declared an interim dividend of 8 HK cents per share.
Operating costs before depreciation and amortisation increased 4% or HK$16.7 million. The average cost of newsprint rose 5% from US$604 to US$635 per metric ton. Staff costs increased 6% while rental and utilities expenses rose 27% largely due to higher rental of office premises.
The Group’s interim results were boosted by a 31% growth in notices advertising and a 7% growth in display advertising sales. Recruitment advertising revenue increased by 4.5%. The unaudited circulation of South China Morning Post and Sunday Morning Post rose to 105,000 and 80,600, respectively.
Classifiedpost.com underwent a complete revamp to provide a more user-friendly interface and more advanced functionalities to job seekers and advertisers. With the launch of the new site in April 2007, page views rose 10% year-on-year.
Scmp.com was also revamped, enabling greater integration between the paper and the website and boosting its content with more multimedia, personalisation, mobile WAP access and interactive functions. The website was re-launched in May and had approximately 18,300 subscribers as of end-June.
The Magazine Division reported a 68% increase in net profit mainly from the strong performance of Cosmopolitan and Harper’s Bazaar. Reflecting the strong momentum of consumer spending, the Hearst’s titles showed impressive growth in advertising revenue. Nevertheless, competition is keen and the higher cost of maintaining circulation and slower growth rate in advertising revenue will create pressure on profitability.
First half results have been encouraging, given the strong economy and active investment market. Unemployment rate in the second quarter of 2007 was at its lowest level in the past nine years. Management is positive that these favorable economic conditions will continue in the second half of the year.
Print’s recruitment revenue is expected to be maintained, despite the shifting trend towards online recruitment, however, notices revenue will be affected by the change in Hong Kong listing rules in the second half year.
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About SCMP Group Limited
SCMP Group Limited (SEHK: 583) is a leading newspaper and magazine publishers in Asia. Its flagship publication, South China Morning Post, is the leading English language newspaper in Hong Kong and has the city’s most affluent and influential readership. Other publication titles of the Group include the Sunday Morning Post, the Chinese editions of Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, CosmoGirl! and Automobile magazines.