SMI Publishing Group, which produces the embattled Chinese-language newspaper Sing Pao Daily News, reported a net loss of HK$100 million for the year to March as advertising revenue tumbled and newsprint costs rose. The results, which were due in June, were delayed because a new management team required time to carry out the annual audit, the company said. SMI changed its chief financial officer in May and its qualified accountants in October. Net loss remained flat in the period at 10 HK cents per share as revenue declined 22 per cent to HK$84 million from HK$108 million a year earlier. No dividend was declared. The net loss from Sing Pao Daily News and related publications, which accounted for almost all turnover, narrowed 9.6 per cent to HK$82 million. SMI said its newspaper circulation revenue dropped 9.7 per cent to HK$54 million in the year, while newspaper advertising sales tumbled 38 per cent to HK$29 million from HK$48 million a year earlier under competition from free dailies. Newsprint cost increased by HK$8.1 million. The company bore an interest payment of HK$8.18 million in the year due to HK$50 million in convertible notes being issued to controlling shareholder Strategic Media International. Total interest payments surged 230 per cent to HK$15 million, up from HK$4.7 million last year. The gearing ratio of the company increased to 311 per cent from 131 per cent last year. SMI shares, which have been suspended since April 28, last closed at 1.5 HK cents.