29th June 2020 – (Hong Kong) Next Digital Media’s stock price fell to a record low of HK$0.09 today. Compared with the price before the owner, Jimmy Lai was arrested at the end of February, it has plummeted by nearly 60%. Compared with the historical high, it has fallen by more than 90%.
After 6 years of shutting down over 9 publications, news of layoffs and salary freezes has recently been reported. Its online business is also in jeopardy, forcing Jimmy Lai to go online in public to plead for more online subscriptions last month. According to Next Digital’s annual performance report for the end of March this year, the company’s total revenue fell 11.1% year-on-year to HK$1.158 billion. Among them, the digital business losses reached HK$124 million, the printing business losses significantly expanded 1.18 times to more than HK$285 million. On 31st March this year, Next Digital’s Taiwan property with a total value of approximately HK$361 million has been pledged to multiple banks in exchange for its granted bank financing.
Next Digital Media said that COVID-19 pandemic will continue to pose severe challenges to the economies of Hong Kong and Taiwan, seriously affect advertisers’ spending, and bring further pressure on the company’s earnings. In addition, Jimmy Lai currently has five criminal cases, including his criminal intimidation case three years ago, and three unauthorised assembly cases that occurred last year.
Jimmy Lai may also face new charges under the soon-to-be passed National Security Law.