Star Media to further diversify into non-print businesses

At the AGM: (from left) Star Media Group Bhd group managing director and CEO Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai, Fu, deputy chairman Tan Sri Kuan Peng Soon, company secretary Ong Wei Lymn, non-independent non-executive director Datuk Dr Mohd Aminuddin Mohd Rouse and independent non-executive director Datin Linda Ngiam Pick Ngoh at the company’s 45th AGM.

PETALING JAYA: The proceeds from Star Media Group Bhd’s proposed disposal of its 52.51% equity interest in Singapore-listed Cityneon Holdings Ltd worth S$115.61mil (about RM360mil) will enable the group to further concentrate and diversify into non-print-related businesses.

Star Media Group chairman Datuk Fu Ah Kiow said the transaction, if approved, would allow the group to unlock value in its invesment.

Two weeks ago, the board made the decision to dispose of the entire stake in Cityneon.

“We are in the process of preparing the circular to shareholders for Bursa Malaysia’s approval so that we can call for an EGM,” Fu said, adding that questions arising from the disposal would be answered during the EGM.

“Taking everything into consideration, perhaps it is the best time to unlock the value of this investment in Singapore, and with the money that we have, we will be able to invest in other businesses,” he added.

Going forward, Fu said the future of Star Media Group was to increase sources of revenue other than print.

To a question if shareholders can expect a bumper dividend after the disposal of Cityneon, Fu said the board would discuss the matter “when it comes to that”.

He noted that Star Media Group had a good dividend yield track record.

Star Media Group is ranked among the top companies on Bursa Malaysia for consistently paying out good dividends and being able to generate positive operating cash flows over the last 10 years.According to statistics compiled by independent research firm, Star Media Group has a rolling four-quarter dividend yield of 7.34%.

The latest dividend paid out by Star Media Group was nine sen per share that was announced along with its first-quarter results on Feb 27. The total dividends that were paid out to shareholders for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2016 (FY16) amounted to 18 sen per ordinary share.

At the current price of RM2.48, Star Media Group shares provide a 7.258% dividend yield.Fu said while the group continues its diversification into non-print-revenue businesses, the group would also improve its efficiency, productivity and cost control amid the challenging economic environment.

Print remains the cash cow of Star Media Group, but its revenue contribution has been declining over the years. The group has been growing contribution from its digital to supplement the print division.

Nonetheless, the company expects the percentage of contribution to increase significantly in the near future.

As at June 30, 2016, the ratio of print to e-paper circulation was 69:31. The group targets the ratio to be 65:35 in FY17.

Meanwhile, Fu said the group’s OTT (over-the-top content) dimsum is not expected to contribute significantly to the group’s revenue in FY17, given that it was only launched in November 2016.

dimsum is Malaysia’s first home-grown online streaming platform that offers exclusively Asian content, with shows from China, Japan, South Korea and Thailand.

Shareholders approved all resolutions at the meeting, which also recorded its appreciation towards the contribution of director Lew Weng Ho, who did not seek re-election.

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