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Singapore Press Holdings to cut over 200 jobs by year-end

Coconuts logo Coconuts 12/10/2017

Media company Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) said Wednesday it would cut 230 jobs by the end of the year as it accelerated a plan to lay off staff.

Like other media organizations worldwide, SPH’s core newspaper business has been hammered by the proliferation of online publications, with its advertising revenues and circulations falling.

The job cuts unveiled Wednesday were part of 400 lay-offs previously announced, about half of which had already been made.

But SPH originally planned to axe the remaining jobs by the end of 2018 — now all the cuts will be made by the end of this year.

A substantial number of the job losses would come from the newsroom, said SPH, which publishes the English-language daily Straits Times and a stable of other newspapers and magazines.

SPH had a headcount of 4,410 at the end of August.

“Profits from the media business are much weaker due to digital disruption,” SPH chief executive Ng Yat Chung said at a briefing announcing the company’s full-year earnings.

He said the “sharp reduction” of staff was needed “so we can have a media business that is leaner and more orientated to the current media environment, but (also) recognizing that print still has strong legs”.

Ng said there were no plans to shut down any newspapers in the company’s stable.

Despite the problems in the media sector, the chief executive said other parts of SPH’s business, including its property arm, were doing well.

SPH said its group net profit for the financial year ended August came in at S$350.1 million (US$258 million), up 32 percent from the previous year.

Photo: Singapore Press Holdings/Facebook © Singapore Press Holdings singapore press holdings

The profit however was bolstered largely by a hefty S$149.7 million (US$110.5 million) gain from partial divestment of its stake in the regional classified ads business.

Operating revenue for its core media business fell 13 percent during the year. Revenue from advertisements declined by 16.9 percent, while turnover from circulation dipped 5.1 percent.

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