HONG KONG, 19 March 2015 –
SCMP Group Ltd. (SEHK: 0583) announced today the financial results for the year ended 31 December 2014.
Group revenues rose by 8% to $1,241.2 million from $1,146.6 million in 2013. Half of this growth was contributed by our magazines business with the addition of men’s luxury titles Esquire and The PEAK, and the growth in online advertising revenue for the Group. Our newspaper business and outdoor media business also contributed towards this increase.
Adjusted operating profit for 2014 increased moderately by 4% to $167.7 million, as revenue growth was partly offset by increasing costs to support our new businesses. Net profit attributable to shareholders (excluding the fair value gain on investment properties) was $125.4 million, $11.1 million or 8% lower than the previous year. The decline in net profit was mainly due to the share of losses of our associated companies.
The newspaper division continues to be a key revenue driver for the Group, and recorded a 3% increase in revenue to $841.5 million. This revenue growth was contributed by Advertising and Marketing Solutions, Circulation and Syndication Business, and contract printing, but was partly offset by a decline in Recruitment and Education Business. Notably, the digital business provided new growth opportunities. SCMP.com and its mobile and tablet editions saw significant growth during the year, with more than 100 new digital advertisers acquired in 2014. Similarly, our online recruitment sites, namely ClassifiedPost.com and JiuJik.com continued to make progress with the combined revenue of both sites increasing 15% over last year. For the Circulation and Syndication Business, revenue increased by 5% in 2014. The main contributor was the strong growth in digital subscriptions, with the number of new subscriptions to SCMP.com, and the renewal rate of monthly subscriptions both recording growth in 2014.
The magazines division enjoyed a year of good financial performance, in spite of a slow and shrinking magazines market, by recording $325.8 million revenue in 2014. The introduction of Esquire and The PEAK to our portfolio of magazines titles, together with display advertising revenue for all existing brands continued to increase, with year-on-year growth of 17%. Digital advertising revenue continued to show promise by rising 41% year-on-year.
Earnings per share for 2014 was 8.8 cents, and a final dividend payable per share was 3.8 cents.
Dr. David Pang, Chairman of SCMP Group, commented, “While the Group demonstrated promising growth in the first half, major protests that lasted the larger part of the fourth quarter negatively affected the overall economy, and cast a shadow on our full year performance somewhat. In spite of this, the Group has successfully charted through uncertainties through prudent management, and emphasis on strategic growth thrusts. These include the continued growth of our magazines portfolio to now include prestigious titles such as Esquire and The PEAK, the expansion of our out-of-home billboard inventory, and more new conferences and events leveraging our flagship brands South China Morning Post and Classified Post. These pillars of growth, together with our fully diversified digital ecosystem of products consisting of desktop, mobile and tablet platforms, gives us new reach into multiple revenue opportunities home and abroad. With this strategic positioning, we at the Group remain positive of our ability to deliver value to our shareholders consistent with the Hong Kong economy in 2015.”
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About SCMP Group Ltd and South China Morning Post
SCMP Group Limited (SEHK: 583) is a leading newspaper and magazine publisher in Asia. Its flagship publication, the South China Morning Post, is Hong Kong’s internationally recognised 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, mobile, tablets and online through scmp.com and e-reader editions, the South China Morning Post reaches a global audience with daily breaking news, analysis and opinion, multimedia articles and interactive forums. The South China Morning Post received over 160 awards in 2014-15 for excellence in editorial, marketing and technical capabilities. Other titles in the Group include the Sunday Morning Post, Nanzao.com (南早.com), Nanzaozhinan.com (南早香港指南.com), STYLE, 48 HOURS, Destination Macau, The PEAK, HK Magazine, The List and Where Hong Kong.
Through the joint venture partnership with Hearst, SCMP Hearst publishes the Chinese editions of Cosmopolitan, CosmoBride, Harper’s BAZAAR, Harper’s BAZAAR Art, Harper’s BAZAAR Bride, Esquire, ELLE, ELLE Men, ELLE Wedding, ELLE Décoration, and ELLE Accessories; and operates Cosmopolitan.com.hk, Cosmogirl.com.hk, Harpersbazaar.com.hk, ELLE.com.hk and EsquireHK.com in Hong Kong.
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