SCMP Group shareholders approve disposal of media business to Alibaba Investment

Meeting sees 99.99 per cent approval of sale and special cash payment of HK$1.60 a share

PUBLISHED : Monday, 14 March, 2016, 6:48pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 April, 2016, 3:58pm

SCMP Group shareholders approved the disposal of its media business and a special cash payment of HK$1.60 per share at a special general meeting on Monday, the company said.

In a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange, it said 99.99 per cent of voters voted for the disposal and the special cash payment.

SCMP Group and purchaser Alibaba Investment entered into a sale and purchase agreement in December in relation to the disposal of the group’s media assets for a cash consideration of HK$2.06 billion.

SCMP Group announced last month a proposed special cash payment of HK$1.60 a share, with the aggregate amount of the special cash payment HK$2.50 billion.

At Monday’s special general meeting, a vote on a proposed name change also received 99.99 per cent support.

SCMP Group had proposed a name change from SCMP Group Limited to Armada Holdings Limited. The new Chinese name 南潮控股有限公司 will be adopted to replace the existing Chinese name 南華早報集團有限公司.

With the resolution to approve the asset disposal and the special cash payment passed, the company said it now expected completion of the disposal would take place on April 5, and not on April 1 as previously expected.

Upon completion of the transaction, the company would shift its focus to its property business, the filing said.

In a separate filing yesterday, SCMP Group said profit attributable to shareholders last year was HK$316.2 million, which included a HK$191.4 million fair value gain on investment properties and a HK$65.1 million gain on partial disposal of interests in The Post Publishing Public Company, an associate of the group.

Carving out these exceptional items, net profit attributable to shareholders was HK$59.7 million, compared with HK$125.4 million in 2014.

The lower net profit was mainly due to lower advertising sales resulting from the slowdown in retail sales in Hong Kong, the company said.

Total operating costs and expenses decreased 5 per cent to about HK$1.02 billion. Staff costs decreased 3 per cent or HK$14.4 million due to a headcount freeze and lower provision for bonuses.

Directors recommend a final dividend of 1.5 HK cents per share from the retained profits, against 3.8 HK cents a share in 2014. The final dividend, together with the interim dividend of 1.3 HK cents per share, will make a total dividend of 2.8 HK cents per share for last year.