July 16, 2013 / 1:16 AM / 5 years ago

STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Maybank cuts SPH to 'hold' after Q3 earnings

Maybank Kim Eng downgraded Singapore Press Holdings Ltd (SPH) to “hold” from “buy” and cut its target price to S$4.50 from S$4.52, saying the media and property company’s core business has continued to weaken.

SPH shares were down 1.15 percent at S$4.28 on Tuesday, while the benchmark Straits Times Index was up 0.4 percent. The stock has risen about 6 percent so far this year versus a more than 2 percent gain in the index.

SPH reported on Monday evening an 81 percent jump in third-quarter net profit to S$187.5 million ($148.2 million), lifted by S$111.4 million fair value gain on investment properties resulting from a change in accounting policy.

Excluding the fair value gain on investment properties and an impairment loss of S$15.6 million on an overseas magazine subsidiary, SPH’s core net profit of S$91.7 million was down 12 percent from a year earlier, Maybank noted.

The broker also said SPH’s advertising revenue has been heavily hit for the last two quarters since Singapore launched cooling measures on the property and car sectors.

“The most immediate catalyst, REIT spin-off, is largely in price already while the core media business could continue to be under pressure for more quarters,” Maybank said, adding that the current 5.5 percent dividend yield would be less attractive as government bond yields rise.

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