The mood at Singapore Press Holdings was sombre on Thursday after chief executive Ng Yat Chung revealed to staff that the company is cutting 230 jobs across the organisation at a town hall meeting, a day after announcing its annual results, leaving many shocked.
The beleaguered media conglomerate had announced just the previous day that it was moving forward its retrenchment exercise from 2018, despite seeing a full year net profit that rose 32% to almost $350m from the previous financial year, while group operating revenue fell by 8.2% to $1.03bn. Its advertising revenue fell by $103m and circulation revenue dropped by $8.7m.
Quoting sources in SPH, Yahoo! reported that reporters, photographers and sub-editors from The Straits Times, The Business Times and Chinese language daily Lianhe Zaobao were all let go on Thursday before the town hall meeting, as they came to work to find their work accounts disabled and finding out that they had to exit the premises by 6pm.
Yahoo! also reported that Zaobao and its sister paper Lianhe Wanbao, are merging their newsrooms, while the sports section at SPH’s free tabloid, The New Paper is expected to merge with The Straits Times.
The Drum reached out to SPH for more details on the job cuts, but a spokesperson would only confirmed that the town hall took place and refused to provide any more information.
Alongside many other publishers,SPH has struggled to cope with digital disruption and has been unable to find new ways to increase its advertising revenue. This has seen its shares slide by 45% on the stock market and its workforce steadily decreasing for the past decade.