SINGAPORE: Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), which on Thursday (Oct 17) posted a 23 per cent fall in full-year net profit, announced it will cut 5 per cent of jobs in its media division as it seeks to restructure and streamline its operations.
The retrenchment exercise is expected to be completed by the end of November and cost the company S$8 million.
In response to queries from CNA, SPH said that about 130 employees will be affected as a result of the restructuring, of which about 70 will be laid off.
No newsroom staff members are affected, said the company.
In a stock exchange filing on Thursday, mainboard-listed SPH said that the restructuring exercise is necessary to enhance its operational efficiency and strengthen its position amid a challenging economic and media environment.
"Print revenue continues to decline. In addition, the uncertain macroeconomic outlook this year has seen consumer demand fall and advertisers scaling back on advertising spend," said SPH.
"This is a good time for SPH to consolidate its strengths as a media owner and streamline its media and magazines operations," it added.
SPH, which publishes the Straits Times, has been hit by persistently declining print advertising and circulation amid changes in readership habits.
On Thursday, SPH posted a net profit of S$213.2 million for its fiscal year ended August, down 23.4 per cent from S$278.4 million the previous year.
Group revenue fell 2.8 per cent to S$977.7 million, dragged down by its media business, where pre-tax profit plunged 44.6 per cent to S$54.7 million.
In the past year, daily average newspaper print sales decreased by 68,855 copies or 12.2 per cent, while daily average newspaper digital sales increased by 40,351 copies or 19.3 per cent.
Revenue for the media division fell 12 per cent to S$576.9 million in its last fiscal year, hurt by a 14.9 per cent decline in print advertising income and a 7.3 per cent fall in circulation revenue.
SPH said that in order to restructure the business, the group will be streamlining its media operations in line with a new integrated sales approach.
"By selling its newspaper and magazine titles together not only across print but also digital, voice and outdoor formats, SPH brings together the specialist appeal of many of its magazine titles to the specific audience groups they serve (women, luxury, fashion, technology) with the broader mass market audiences commanded by its newspaper titles," it said.
To augment this move, SPH will also invest in solutions that will make its print advertising more interactive and trackable, and formulate more hyperlocal advertising solutions.
SPH said it has informed the Ministry of Manpower and National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) on its retrenchment exercise, and that employees who are laid off will receive compensation based on terms negotiated and agreed with the staff union.
"SPH has also been working closely with the union and e2i to ensure that affected staff receive the help and support they require during this period. This includes on-site career guidance, employment placement services, as well as professional counselling support," it said.