SPH shares up after shareholders vote to hive off media business

SINGAPORE – Shares of Singapore Press Holdings rose over 1 per cent at the opening bell on Monday, after shareholders voted to carve out the media business.

The counter rose to $1.96 as at 9.10am, up 1.03 per cent from Friday’s close of $1.94.

A trading halt was lifted on Monday after the conclusion of the company’s extraordinary general meeting (EGM) last Friday.

Shareholders of Singapore Press Holdings overwhelmingly backed its plan to hive off its media business, with 97.55 per cent of shareholders voting in favour at the EGM.

This paves the way for the formation of a new company limited by guarantee (CLG), chaired by former minister Khaw Boon Wan.

At the same time, the move potentially unlocks shareholder value for the mainboard-listed company, which can now focus on being a property-based entity that could be bought over by Keppel Corporation, which has put up a $2.2 million bid in a deal that values SPH’s non-media business at $3.4 billion.

Such assets include SPH Reit, purpose-built student accommodation in Britain and Germany, and aged care in Singapore and Japan.

The restructuring comes at a time when the media arm faces stiff financial challenges amid a digital age.

Operating revenue in the past five years has halved, and in FY2020, the SPH media business posted its first ever loss. The financial first half of this year has seen the situation worsen further, as it posted a pre-tax loss of $9.7 million. SPH Media ad revenue fell 39 per cent from FY2018 to FY2020.

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