The increase in revenue was mainly driven by higher advertising sales from its magazine publishing business, while revenue from its newspaper publishing business for the six months ended 30 June 2012 was flat to last year at $370.4million.
However, the net profit of the group from normal business operations (taking out the fair value gains on investment properties), dropped 35% to $61.9million as compared with first half last year, largely due to a decline in recruitment services revenue, a reduction in IPO advertising revenue and an increase in operating expenses, which included the staffing resources to support the group’s growing digital portfolio.
Earnings per share declined to 11.8cents from 16.0cents for the same period the year prior. Dividend payable per share will be 3.0cents.
The overall strength of its newspaper products continued as the un-audited first half 2012 HKABC* circulation figures for South China Morning Post and Sunday Morning Post increased by 7% and 10% to 108,881 and 89,212 respectively as compared with same period last year. Its magazines division reported growth in advertising revenue across all titles.
CEO Robin Hu remarked “Economic jitters caused by the weakening of the China economy and the Eurozone crisis have had some impact during the first half of 2012. Nonetheless, we managed to deliver steady results and are carefully priming our business to ensure financial stability in the second half. We are fortunate to see growth in the luxury retail sector, and have had success in our magazine publishing and contract printing businesses. We’re weathering challenges with resilience, while continuing to roll out both new and enhanced digital media products to meet changing media consumption behaviour.”
The group recently extended its partnership with Hearst Magazines International in the form of joint venture company, SCMP Hearst Hong Kong Ltd, to publish ELLE and Elle.com.hk. This added to an existing strong line up of women’s magazines, Cosmopolitan, CosmoGirl! and Harper’s Bazaar.
The group also recently extended a contract printing agreement with the local Chinese free newspaper am730 to a sizeable long term contract starting Q3 2013.
About The SCMP Group
SCMP Group Limited (SEHK: 583) is a leading newspaper and magazine publisher in Asia. Its flagship publication, South China Morning Post, is Hong Kong’s world renowned English language newspaper and has the city’s most affluent and influential readership. First published in 1903, the newspaper has developed an enviable reputation for authoritative, influential and independent reporting on Hong Kong, China and the rest of Asia. Available in print, iPad and online through scmp.com and e-reader editions, South China Morning Post reaches a global audience with daily breaking news, insightful analysis and opinion, multimedia articles and interactive forums. Striving to maintain the highest standards among the world’s quality newspapers, the South China Morning Post receives constant international recognition. It received 55 awards in 2011 for editorial excellence. Other publication titles of the Group include the Sunday Morning Post, LuxeHomes, Classified Post, JiuJik, smartjob.com, and the Chinese editions of Cosmopolitan, CosmoGirl!, Harper’s Bazaar and Elle. For more information, please visit us at www.scmpgroup.com.
* Hong Kong Audit Bureau of Circulations Ltd