SCMP Group Limited Results

– Final results for the year ended December 31, 2002


The comparison presented below covered 12-month period ended December 31, 2001

  • Total turnover: HK$1364.9 million (2001: HK$1,693.7 million; down by 19 %)
  • Net profit: HK$102.5 million (2001: HK$165.7million; down by 38%)
  • Net profit before revaluation deficit: HK$177.5 million (2001: HK$206.4 million; down 14%)
  • Earnings per share: HK 6.02 cents (2001: HK9.55 cents; down by 37%)
  • Earnings per share before revaluation deficit: HK 10.42 cents (2001: HK 11.9 cents; down 12%)
  • Final dividend distribution per share: HK 4 cents
  • Total dividend distribution per share for the year: HK 8 cents (2001: HK 8 cents)

Hong Kong, March 24, 2003 – SCMP Group Limited (SEHK: 583) ("the Group") today announced its final results for the year ended December 31, 2002.

Turnover for the year was HK$ 1364.9 million, and net profit after tax was HK$102.5 million, which included a gain of HK$25.1 million from disposal of certain businesses and a provision of HK$75 million for the revaluation deficit in the investment properties as at December 31, 2002. Excluding the revaluation deficit of HK$75 million, the Group would report a net profit after tax of HK$177.5 million or earnings per share of HK10.42 cents.

The Group’s total revenue in 2002 was down 19% from the previous year, primarily due to the downturn in advertising revenue from the newspaper business and disposal of certain subsidiaries. Total operating costs were down by 15%. Staff costs decreased by 13% following from headcount reductions undertaken during the year. Total headcount of the Group in December 2002 was 1,293 down from 1,570 in December 2001 due to disposal and suspension of certain businesses and magazine titles, and overall reduction of headcount. Cost of production materials and sales was down 14%, primarily due to lower newsprint prices and usage. Rental and utilities decreased by 32% due to disposal of recreation club and education businesses and the closure of nine Health Plus stores, though this was partially offset by net increase of 11 Daily Stop outlets.

The Board declared a final dividend distribution of HK 4 cents per share. Together with the interim dividend distribution of HK 4 cents already paid out, dividend distribution for the year totaled HK 8 cents, representing a payout ratio of 122% of the net profits for 2002.

Commenting on the business prospects ahead, Mr. Kuok Khoon Ean, Chairman of SCMP Group, said, "The continuing weak economic conditions, compounded by the geopolitical events in the Middle East, have made it extremely difficult to predict the prospects for 2003. However, over the last two years, the Group has taken measures to strengthen its core business, which included (i) disciplined cost controls, (ii) improvements in the quality and presentation of the South China Morning Post to provide a more attractive product for both our readers and advertisers alike, and (iii) near completion of a major capital expenditure program to increase and upgrade our production and systems infrastructure, including two new colour presses, new editorial publishing, advertising, circulation management and management information systems. As we enter the centenary year of the South China Morning Post in these challenging times, the Group is well positioned for a rebound, to maximize revenue potential and profitability when the market recovers."

About SCMP Group Limited

SCMP Group Limited is the holding company of South China Morning Post Publishers Limited, Hong Kong"s leading publisher of English language newspapers (South China Morning Post and Sunday Morning Post), and, through other Group companies, is involved in the publication of magazines, retailing, commercial and business video 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
Corporate Communications
SCMP Group Limited
Tel: (852) 2565 2415
Fax: (852) 2565 2429