(MENAFN - Jordan Times) The Jordan Press Foundation (JPF)/Al Rai will distribute dividends at a rate of 20 per cent as recommended by the board of directors following the approval of shareholders on Thursday.
The general assembly of shareholders also endorsed JPF's 2011 financial statements and the board's report.
Besides Al Rai Arabic daily, JPF publishes The Jordan Times and the children's magazine Hatem. The company also operates a modern commercial printing press and runs a studies centre.
During an ordinary session, Rama Company for Saving and Investment was elected as board member to assume one of the Social Security Corporation seats on the board, and Deloitte & Touche LLP was selected as auditor.
Stressing that Al Rai daily should keep abreast of all technical and professional developments, shareholders urged editorial staff to raise the ceiling of freedom of speech and to publish diversified opinions.
The daily should reflect the aspirations and the problems of the various brackets of the community, the political and the democratic movement in the country, as well as the vision of His Majesty King Abdullah for Al Rai to become the country's newspaper, the shareholders emphasised.
It should disseminate ideas of democracy and freedom of speech, besides safeguarding the country's achievements, they said calling for more efforts to ensure that the paper reaches all citizens in the various governorates, cities and villages and expresses their aspirations for freedom and justice.
At the meeting, Chairman Samir Hiyari said despite economic and political circumstances in the region and their repercussions on Jordan, the JPF managed to achieve a JD7 million gross profit and JD1.352 million net profit, down from JD5.724 million in 2010.
Hiyari lauded the development process at Al Rai, citing its new website, besides its advanced advertising operations. He also unveiled a plan to develop the various editing sections at Al Rai, Hatem and the company's studies centre, and to upgrade distribution.
He said the JPF will pursue efforts to preserve its position and ensure its continuity as a leading company in its field. It will also monitor economic developments in the upcoming year and take precautionary measures to safeguard the company's interests in different circumstances.
Acting Director General Omran Kheir said the company purchased an integral mailing room, to be annexed to the printing press equipment in order to serve modern business requirements, provide accuracy in counting, packaging and distribution, and attach supplements and flyers and support the distribution process.
In reply to a question on the purchase mechanism of raw materials at the company, Kheir explained that all purchase transactions exceeding JD20,000 are handled by the main tender committee while those whose value is below that amount are handled by a secondary tender committee, comprising heads of the various departments and chaired by the company director general, in order to ensure the highest level of transparency and to safeguard shareholders' money.
Responding to a question on the current conditions of the company and its future plans, Kheir indicated that out of JD10.86 million, which is the cost of Al Rai printing press complex, JD9.35 million was paid from the company's own funds and the remaining JD1.5 million will also be paid from the company's funds.
The printing complex will not only serve the local market, but will also serve other markets at the regional level because of its huge capacity and technical capabilities.
Moreover the commercial facility has been provided with a modern printing machine which costs around 14.2 million euro.
The machine, which is expected to become operational at the end of June, will contribute to improving the capacity of the JPF production lines.
Regarding JPF's financial performance, assets in 2011 amounted to JD55.4 million, up from JD37.3 in 2010, according to a company statement. Equity rights also rose to JD45.3 million in the previous year from JD33.5 million in 2010.
Last year, the JPF posted JD24.1 million in operational revenues compared with JD25.9 million in 2010.
Out of these revenues, JD21.2 million came from the company's sales, subscriptions and advertising activities while the company's commercial press accounted for the remaining JD2.8 million.
Publishing costs of newspapers, magazines and commercial press publications rose to JD17 million from JD15.2 million. This caused the gross profit to go down to JD7 million from JD10.6 million in 2010, the statement indicated.