Singapore Press Considering Job Cuts in Reorganization Plan

Singapore Press Holdings Ltd., which started a review of its media business last year, is considering job cuts amid a reorganization, according to people familiar with the matter.

The city’s dominant newspaper publisher, like many of its peers in the industry, is grappling with digital disruption that has eroded readership and advertising revenue. While Singapore Press has diversified into property, telecommunications and nursing homes, that has failed to arrest a slide in earnings. Profits have fallen for six straight quarters, including a 45 percent decline in the three months through May from a year earlier.

Chin Soo Fang, a spokeswoman for the newspaper publisher, said she declined to comment on market rumors.

Singapore Press had 4,473 employees at the end of May, with a total wage bill of S$276 million ($204 million). Revenue in the third quarter slipped 11 percent to S$260 million. Its media business was the only segment that reported a decline in sales as advertising shrank. The planned cuts come less than a month after Chief Executive Officer Ng Yat Chung was appointed Sept. 1. Mediacorp, the country’s other main news group that publishes the Today newspaper, said in August it would stop the print edition.

Singapore Press’s market value fell below that of its U.S. peer New York Times Co. for the first time in 12 years earlier this month. Trading near levels last seen during the 1997 Asian currency meltdown and the 2008-2009 Global Financial Crisis, Singapore Press shares are the year’s worst performers on the country’s benchmark index, down more than 20 percent.

— With assistance by Andrea Tan, and Divya Balji

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