24 May 2012

Star Publications appoints Tan Sri Tony Fernandes as independent non-executive director

(STAR opening stock price today (24.5.2012) was RM 3.22)

AirAsia Bhd co-founder and group chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, 48, has joined the board of Star Publications (M) Bhd as an independent non-executive director with effect from yesterday.

In a statement to Bursa Malaysia, Star said Fernandes replaced Datuk Wira Syed Abdul Jaabar Syed Hassan, 72, who did not seek re-appointment after nearly 15 years as a non-executive director.

“Tony (Fernandes) is a far-sighted entrepreneur who has built a global brand in AirAsia and we hope to tap on his insights and exposure in the global stage to grow in Malaysia and beyond,” Star chairman Tan Sri Dr Fong Chan Onn said.

Fernandes, on the other hand, said he hoped to contribute in whatever way he could as Star sought to expand from a print to a multi-channel media company.

All the other existing directors had been re-appointed to the board at the company's 40th AGM held here yesterday.

Star's core business is its English daily The Star.

According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, The Star was the only English newspaper in the country to register a growth in sales in the second half of 2011.

From July to December 2011, The Star's daily editions (Monday to Saturday) marked a year-on-year increase of 8,243 copies or 3% to 287,204 compared with 278,961 copies in the previous corresponding period. Its weekly (Sunday) edition, however, registered a marginal decline of 1% or 2,722 copies to 289,979 copies from July to December 2011, compared with 292,701 copies in the previous corresponding period.

Meanwhile, for the first quarter (Q1) ended March 31, 2012, Star reported a lower net profit of RM32.45mil compared with RM40.27mil for the corresponding period last year. The lower net profit was attributable to higher operating expenses and finance cost.

Star's revenue for Q1 rose a marginal 0.9% to RM229.98mil from a year ago. Earnings per share stood at 4.39 sen for the quarter compared with 5.45 sen a year ago.

Star's pre-tax profit was RM44.79mil compared with RM54.92mil a year ago.

Of the four main business segments within Star, print and new media was the only one with positive results. The segment registered a pre-tax profit of RM53.58mil, down 9.7%, on revenue decline of 3.2% to RM188.93mil. This was attributable to lower advertising spending, as the close proximity of Chinese New Year in January and Christmas during the preceding month, and the holiday season resulted in a shorter window for promotions by advertisers.

Its broadcasting segment, on the other hand, was hit by higher expenses, especially after including the amortisation of Capital FM radio licence. Excluding the amortisation costs of the licence, the segment would have made a small pre-tax profit of RM250,000 for Q1.

Star's event, exhibition, interior and thematic segment, while seeing its revenue growing 32.4% year-on-year to RM26.38mil for Q1, was hit by higher cost of sales and operating expenses, resulting in a 36.9% decline in pre-tax profit.

Its television channel segment from Li TV Holdings Ltd saw a loss of RM380,000 due to higher operating, transmission and marketing costs. Revenue contribution from this division was RM1.87mil for Q1 2012.

Source: www.thestar.com.my
No interim dividend was declared for the quarter in review.

Star gained one sen yesterday to close at RM3.22.


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