Real estate prices add to SCMP windfall
SCMP Group posted a more than 325 per cent jump in net interim profit to HK$223.7 million, including a paper gain on its investment properties as a result of soaring real estate prices in Hong Kong.
The publishing company made a net deferred tax gain of HK$128.2 million from a revaluation of its properties. Excluding the gain in properties, the operating profit from publishing was up 70 per cent to HK$112.8 million for the first half of this year.
Strong sales across the newspaper and magazine divisions sent revenue up 8 per cent to HK$443.5 million compared with the same period last year.
The firm said that the closing down of its loss-making mainland titles gave a boost to operating profit at the magazine division.
Initial public offerings-related revenue climbed 13 per cent due to a buoyant equity market in the first half of this year.
SCMP Group was able to attract advertisements from 43 IPOs out of the 45 companies that joined the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing during the period.
The unaudited circulation of the South China Morning Post for the first six months was estimated to be 101,800 copies, the same as the first half of last year.
Production costs climbed 8 per cent to HK$58.9 million, while advertising and promotion expenses rose 7 per cent to HK$13.2 million, mainly due to campaigns to launch the new design of the newspaper in May.
Staff costs dropped 13 per cent to HK$159.3 million largely because no provision for bonuses was made.
In a statement filed with the Hong Kong stock exchange yesterday, SCMP Group management said they had been 'aggressively' developing new products and were confident that business momentum would be maintained in the second half of this year, as long as the economy remained stable.
SCMP Group shares closed yesterday at HK$1.55, unchanged from Wednesday's closing.
The estimated circulation figure for the Sunday Morning Post for the first half of the year. This represents a rise of 3 per cent over last year