I am pleased to present the annual results of Media Chinese International
Limited and its subsidiaries (the "Group") for the year ended 31 March 2011.
The Group had an outstanding year as we achieved record revenue and profit.
We achieved a record profit before income tax of US$74,207,000, an impressive growth of 35% or US$19,094,000 over US$55,113,000 as reported in the previous year. The economic improvements in the Group's major markets have been the key of our success in this financial year. Both the Malaysian and Hong Kong economies have stabilised gradually during this financial year, in response to the respective governments' fiscal and monetary stimulus packages. This economic stimulus has helped trade to recover from the low point of the global crisis, and we have been well positioned to benefit from this recovery with our strong newspaper brands.
The Group achieved a record revenue of US$445,844,000 this year, representing an increase of 19% or US$69,843,000 compared to the previous year. Buoyed by solid advertising revenue growth from the Group's titles, the publishing and printing segment registered a 15% or US$50,839,000 increase in segment revenue to US$380,517,000.
According to the Nielsen Media Research Report, overall advertising spending in Malaysia (excluding pay TV) during the period from April 2010 to March
2011 grew by 14% to RM7.9 billion (equivalent to US$2.5 billion). Total advertising spending on newspapers enjoyed a 14% growth during the same period and took up the majority 51% of the total Adex.
Similarly, the steady recovery in the Hong Kong economy brings greater demand for advertisements in different media. With an expert sales force and effective sales efforts, the Group is well placed to benefit from this economic upturn and is able to drive higher advertising revenue during the year for both its print and online publications.
Continuing strong growth in the demand for the Group's long-haul tours to Europe and North America destinations during the year helped the travel and travel related services segment post a 41% growth in turnover and achieved a turnaround in 2010/2011 with a profit of about US$1,892,000.
The improved result has significantly strengthened the Group's financial position. As at 31 March 2011, the Group's net assets stood at about US$400 million, 14% higher than the previous year's US$350 million.
Basic earnings per share were US3.26 cents, representing an increase of 34%
compared with previous year's figure.
We are fully committed to our objective of ensuring business sustainability and profitability. In order to achieve the same we will need to focus on the following:
The Group's sustained growth will depend on the continuous support from our readers and advertisers. Hence, developing products that can meet the demands of the readers and advertisers is the primary concern for the Group. In order to understand the customers' needs, the Group organises activities that enable frequent interactions with our customers. Through opportunities such as focus group discussions with readers and visits to advertisers, the Group is able to gather feedback from its customers and incorporate that into our business strategies.
Adapting to Changes
In order to be a lean and efficient organisation, the Group is constantly reviewing its work processes to ensure that it can meet the challenges of the current operating environment. Adaptation is the key to survival of businesses and with globalisation and technological advances, the business environment has become more competitive. Hence, work processes are constantly reviewed and improved to ensure that the Group's businesses remain competitive and viable.
The Group keeps abreast of the new development in the market in order to ensure that our products are always ahead of the curve. The world of publications, which is our core business, is changing tremendously. Hence, the Group places importance on research and development and has units which continuously study and analyse data on the ever changing needs and demands of readers, the changing dynamics of the advertising market and the development of technology in the platforms for publication.
People is an important cornerstone for the Group. Investing in our people is an important priority for the Group. It is clear that we can fulfill our strategic initiatives only with a highly skilled and dedicated work force that is willing to go the extra mile for our readers and advertisers. The Group believes in training our people to ensure that their skills can meet the challenges of an ever changing economy.
The Board of Directors has declared a second interim dividend, in lieu of final dividend, of US1.153 cents per share to be paid on 2 August 2011. Together with the first interim dividend of US0.800 cents per share paid during the year, the total payout of US1.953 cents per share represents an increase of 60% from that of the last financial year.
Economic indicators in the Group's major markets are showing positive trends in 2011, and we expect the Group to fully leverage on this positive economic sentiment to drive revenue growth.
The newsprint market has resumed its upward spiral in 2010 and is a source of concern; however, our inventory management would help offset some of the upward newsprint cost pressure. Adding to this, the Group is in the process of renegotiating some of the collective agreements for some of its subsidiaries. Coupled with the escalating global inflation, this creates huge pressure on the Group's labour costs.
Nevertheless, the Group will continue to adopt an optimistic yet prudent approach in managing our business and to ensure sustainable cost efficiency and profitability in the coming financial year.
I would like to thank the management and staff of the Group for performing their tasks with high standards of integrity and full dedication. I would also like to sincerely thank our readers, advertisers, customers, suppliers and shareholders for their continuous support.
Tan Sri Datuk Sir TIONG Hiew King
Group Executive Chairman
30 May 2011