Newsprint prices peaked, says Sing TaoBusiness | Gary Poon 29 Mar 2019
Sing Tao News Corporation (1105), the parent company of The Standard, posted its net profit for 2018 decreased 41 percent year-on-year to HK$24.24 million, as the print media market continued to experience a decline in advertising revenue while average newsprint prices increased 30 percent.
Basic earnings per share was 2.8 cents. A final dividend of 2 cents per share with a special dividend of 10 cents per share was declared. Together with the interim dividend, the total annual dividend will amount to 14 cents per share, a 40 percent increase over last year.
Chairman Charles Ho Tsu-kwok said newsprint prices appear to have peaked and their moderation will help to alleviate the pressure on the group's results while Sing Tao will continue to implement cost control and efficiency optimization initiatives across all operating units in order to maximise its profitability. "As a leader in the print media market, the group will maintain its focus on creating high-quality content and providing high added-value advertising services to remain competitive in its core media businesses," he said.
Headline Daily remained as the distinct number one free newspaper in Hong Kong. Its average readership of 1,102,000 was also the largest among all newspapers in Hong Kong, almost doubling that of the next free newspaper competitor.
Sing Tao Daily recorded a slight increase in readership, and it continued to be the market leader in property and retail advertisements in 2018.
The Standard's performance in 2018 was relatively stable. In terms of advertising revenue growth, it managed to outperform not only its English newspaper competitor but also other free newspapers. It recorded a significant increase in revenues from its overseas property segment, which has become a major advertising category for The Standard.