Singapore

SPH to speed up planned staff cuts, focus on long-term growth

Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) will accelerate planned staff cuts in a bid to make its core media business leaner and focus resources on expanding its digital reach for long-term growth.

Headcount will be reduced by 230 by the end of the year, chief executive Ng Yat Chung said yesterday.

The figure of 230 includes 130 people who are being retrenched, as well as reductions resulting from retirement, termination of contracts and roles that will be eliminated as a result of restructuring work processes.

As SPH restructures its newsrooms and sales operations, 15 per cent of the staff in these core media divisions are being reduced, Mr Ng added.

The planned cuts reflect a push to speed up an earlier programme to shed 10 per cent of total group headcount within two years.

These moves are expected to incur retrenchment costs of about $13 million in this quarter.

The group's wage bills could be lowered by 8 per cent to 9 per cent, Mr Ng noted.

The media and property group announced these moves alongside its full-year results, which showed net profit rose 32 per cent to $350.1 million due largely to a one-off gain.

Recurring profits from the core media business were weaker due to digital disruption, although earnings from property and other non-media businesses continue to grow steadily, Mr Ng said in his first results briefing since taking over as chief executive on Sept 1.

"We have to fix the cost base because the business is changing," noted Mr Ng.

He said that there are no plans to consolidate or shut down any of the company's daily newspapers.

"The newspapers are serving the needs of readers and our clients well," he added.

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