The New Creation Church (NCC), which earned a hefty S$143 million income last year, has said that it never desired or intended to go into business.

Some S$122 million, or about 85 per cent of NCC’s 2018 earnings, came from tithes and offerings from the congregation. The church has funds and reserves of S$633 million, which is set aside to be used for future needs and to advance its vision and mission.

Today, NCC owns Daystar Child Development Centre, and a subsidiary, Rock Productions – which owns The Star Performing Arts Centre, Shine Auditorium, Rock Gifts & Book Centre and Omega Tours & Travel, which primarily provides tour packages to Israel. Rock Productions also runs Shine Auditorium at Shaw Tower, which is used for its youth services.

In 2016, NCC Senior Pastor Joseph Prince revealed that the church paid S$460 million for The Star Performing Arts Centre, where it holds its worship services.

An NCC spokesman explained that the church ventured into business to establish a permanent place of worship after years of moving from hotel to hotel to hold its services.

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The spokesman told the national broadsheet that “It was never our desire nor intention to get into business…Over the years, these entities were set up primarily to benefit and meet the needs of our congregation, and to help the community.”

The spokesman said that the church established Rock Productions, which was able to build, lease and operate the Rock Auditorium in Suntec City to house the congregation, since land allocated for religious use was too small to accommodate the expanding congregation.

The Rock Auditorium, however, soon grew too small for the congregation which moved to The Star Performing Arts Centre in 2012. On average, about 34,000 worshippers joined NCC’s Sunday Services last year at the The Star – which boasts a 5,000-seat theatre.

The NCC spokesman said: “A business entity was necessary for us to participate in a tender in 2007 to build, lease and operate The Star, an integrated civic, cultural and retail hub.

“It has also enabled the NCC Group to be in a better financial position as The Star PAC allows the group to generate income to defray its expenses and to save on expenses that would have been incurred from renting other venues of comparable size and outfit.”

“We believe in the importance of strong and transparent governance and have a separate governing board to manage our entities. A strict arm’s-length policy is adhered to in the day-to-day running of the church and its entities.”

The Straits Times broadsheet found that Rock Productions was in the red for the five years shown in the latest record. According to the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority, the entity lost about S$74 million in the five years,, after deducting for tax from continuing operations.

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NCC said that its entities have generated positive Ebitda (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) over the years. The spokesperson said that the church expects the entities “to continue to be Ebitda-positive.” -/TISG