First Sponsor in tie-up to buy Amsterdam property, announces Q4 profit more than doubles

SINGAPORE - Mainboard-listed First Sponsor Group has teamed up with Tecity Group and two other parties to acquire a commercial building in Amsterdam, Netherlands for about $75.3 million.

First Sponsor, which is part of the Hong Leong Group, said that the acquisition will enable it to "diversify its geographical exposure to China... and build up a larger recurring income stream for its property-holding business segment."

It will use euro-denominated bank loans and internal funds to fund the acquisition.

The property, which has a commercial value equivalent to $77.7 million, has a net lettable area of 12,500 sq m and 111 parking lots.

Besides Tecity, founded by the late banker and philanthropist Tan Chin Tuan, First Sponsor's other partners in the deal are two "high net-worth private individuals." Their identities were not revealed.

Separately, First Sponsor reported its fourth-quarter results for the three months ended Dec 31 today.

It reported net profit of $19.2 million, or earnings per share of 3.26 cents, more than double that of its previous year's earnings of $9.2 million, or earnings per share of 3.17 cents. Its revenue swelled to $84.5 million from $8.4 million, fuelled by "first-time profit recognition" from sales of its Millennium Waterfront project, which was launched in November 2012, and strong growth in its property financing business.

As of Dec 31, the group has a net cash position of $47 million and unutilised credit of $218 million, enabling it to seize business opportunities in the Netherlands and China.

The group proposed a final dividend of 0.76 cents a share for full year 2014.

gleong@sph.com.sg