Ming Pao improves thanks to lower exceptional losses
Publisher Ming Pao Enterprise has seen net loss for the year to March 31 shrink to $24.38 million from $166.93 million previously.
The group, which owns Chinese language newspaper Ming Pao Daily News, was hit by an exceptional loss of $18.83 million stemming from disposal of printing machines and a deficit on revaluation of investment properties. The result the previous year was distorted by an exceptional loss of $191.07 million, mostly provision for an unsecured short-term loan to a mainland company.
The loan of $186 million was made in 1994 and was guaranteed by CIM, a private company owned by former chairman Yu Pun-hoi.
The group said it had made little progress in the loan recovery, but that it was 'still working closely with its lawyers in an attempt to obtain judgment'.
Ming Pao said a number of mainland legal issues had arisen during the legal proceedings, but it believed its position was 'favourable'.
'Although there were several interlocutory hearings, the legal proceedings will reach the stage of discovery in the near future,' it said.
'Upon completion of recovery, the company will liaise with its lawyers with a view to setting the case down for trial.' During the March-end period, Ming Pao's performance deteriorated into an operating loss of $5.71 million against an operating profit of $24.09 million previously.
The Ming Pao Daily News saw its circulation rise slightly, but the group's newspaper editions in Toronto, Vancouver and New York generally underperformed its expectations.
'The competition in the already overcrowded publishing industry further intensified with the launch of a new newspaper and another unwanted price-war towards the end of the period under review,' it said.
Turnover dropped 9.38 per cent to $1.1 billion.