Singapore Press Holdings to lay off 5pc of staff next month

Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) will lay off 5 per cent of its employees by end-November. — TODAY pic
Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) will lay off 5 per cent of its employees by end-November. — TODAY pic

SINGAPORE, Oct 18 — Media company Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) will lay off 5 per cent of its employees in the media group by end-November, as part of restructuring efforts.

In response to TODAY's queries, SPH said that about 130 staff members will be affected as a result of the restructuring, of which more than 70 will be retrenched.

SPH’s media group is its largest arm, consisting of its newspaper, magazine, radio and book publishing businesses, among others.

Announcing the retrenchment exercise in a statement yesterday, SPH said that although its total audience across its platforms has increased, its print revenue continues to decline.

“In addition, the uncertain macroeconomic outlook this year has seen consumer demand fall and advertisers scaling back on advertising spend. This is a good time for SPH to consolidate its strengths as a media owner and streamline its media and magazines operations,” the company said.

It added that it will be restructuring its media solutions and magazine business to enable integrated selling across all platforms.

The restructuring exercise will incur retrenchment costs of about S$8 million (RM24.45 million).

This comes as SPH reported yesterday that its net profit fell 23.4 per cent to S$213.2 million for the financial year ended Aug 31.

Revenue from the media segment fell by 12 per cent, or S$78.9 million, to S$576.9 million. Total print advertisement revenue declined by 14.9 per cent, or S$57 million, and total circulation revenue went down by 7.3 per cent, or S$11 million.

SPH's chief executive officer Ng Yat Chung said that the restructuring exercise is “necessary” to enhance the company’s operational efficiency and strengthen its position in the challenging economic and media environment.

“The restructuring will enable us to deliver more effective solutions across various media platforms to meet the evolving demands of our advertising customers. We continue to invest in the newsrooms and digital media capabilities while remaining disciplined about cost.”

The company said that readers can benefit from the greater sharing of content resources within SPH across platforms and titles. “For example, HWZ’s tech expertise will help beef up the tech columns of news titles such as The Straits Times and The Business Times. Some of the content can also be ported over to radio and even SPH’s out-of-home screens in lifts and commercial areas.”

SPH said that it has informed the Ministry of Manpower and the National Trades Union Congress on this exercise. Affected employees will receive compensation on terms negotiated and agreed with the staff union.

David Teo, president of the Creative Media and Publishing Union, said that the union has worked with the SPH management on the compensation packages and the necessary assistance “to ensure that the whole process will be handled in the best way possible.”

News of SPH’s restructuring exercise comes less than a month after it was reported that travel retailer DFS Group had laid off about 60 staff members. — TODAY

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