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TOM announces 2002 first quarterly results
Annualised revenue run rate exceeds HK$1 billion

  • Reached over HK$1 billion annualised revenue run rate
  • 8% increase in total revenue Q-o-Q
  • 22% reduction in EBITDA loss
  • 2002 revenue to see full-year contribution from TOM's 40% print market share in Taiwan

Hong Kong, May 8, 2002 -- TOM.COM LIMITED ("TOM" or "the TOM Group", stock code: 8001) today announced its first quarterly results for the three months ended March 31, 2002. During the quarter, TOM Group's total revenue rose 8% over the previous quarter to HK$265 million. On an annualised basis, TOM's revenue run rate exceeded HK$1 billion.

The Group's offline revenue recorded a 13% increase quarter-on-quarter to HK$227 million, amounting to 86% of total revenue, due to the steady performance of the offline businesses and a first-time contribution from Business Weekly. The acquisitions of Hong Xiang and nine outdoor media companies have not been consolidated in the current set of results. Online revenue was HK$38 million in the quarter. The aim is to increase fee-based online revenues and reduce the impact of advertising seasonality on the Group. The new online revenue mix will help achieve a break-even targeted for the narrowband online division in 2002.

In the quarter, the TOM Group reduced its loss before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA loss) by 22% to HK$35 million. If broadband start-up losses were stripped out, EBITDA loss in the first quarter was reduced by 34%. Loss attributable to shareholders for the quarter was HK$75 million, an improvement of 7% if the impairment provisions made in the previous quarter were stripped out.

Comparing financial performance to the same period last year, the Group revenue for the three months ended 31 March 2002 recorded an increase of 2.4 times, from HK$77 million in the corresponding period in 2001. Group operating loss in the three months was reduced by 11% to HK$55 million year-on-year, reflecting the Group's broadened offline revenue base and a disciplined approach to overall cost management. On a year-on-year basis, online revenue rose 79% while offline revenue rose 3 times. Loss attributable to shareholders marginally increased to HK$75 million over the last year, due to reduced interest income.

In the first quarter, TOM's mobile and pay e-mail subscribers were 170,000, up from 68,000 in the fourth quarter of 2001. The subscriber base is targeted to increase to 250,000 in the second quarter. TOM will also focus on other fee-based services such as virtual ISP to corporate clients, and bundling SMS with pay e-mail services.

The Group's print media subsidiary, Home Media Group, recorded a net profit after tax margin (NPAT margin) of 9% in the quarter. The continual integration of HMG's print operation resulted in a 13% point margin improvement from the NPAT margin of minus 4% in 2000. Apart from bundling of advertising and subscription sales, the print units also achieve synergies in the sharing of distribution channels. Paper and print costs of Home Media Group was cut by 13% over the past six months.

TOM Outdoor Media Group formed alliance with media agencies such as Mediacom and Zenith Media, securing RMB9.8 million worth of outdoor media buying contracts for clients. Continued integration of the Group's network focused on establishing a centralised financial management function, consolidating operations and continued development of the web-based asset management system.

In the first quarter, revenue of the Group's sports division rose 32% year-on-year. TOM was able to capitalise on opportunities presented by the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Apart from being exclusive advertising agent of China's World Cup official guide, which is expected to have a circulation of 800,000, TOM syndicates the "World Cup Preview" TV series to TV stations across Mainland China in exchange for commercial airtime. The Group also formed China's first nationwide football fan club.


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Rachel Chan, The TOM Group
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