Hongkong Land's underlying profit slips 17% to $541 million

SINGAPORE - Hongkong Land reported a 17 per cent drop in underlying net profit to US$433 million (S$541 million) for the first half year, mainly due to lack of residential development completions in Singapore.

The company considers underlying net profit, which distinguishes between ongoing business performance and non-trading items, to be a better measure of its business performance than net profit.

Net profit for the six months to June 30 fell by 6 per cent to US$563 million.

Revenue fell by 34 per cent to US$602 million, with a sharp plunge in sale of trading properties overwhelming gains in rental and service incomes.

Contribution from the group's residential business was significantly lower than in the first half of 2013 when two large projects were completed: subsidiary MCL Land's 608-unit The Estuary project and the one-third owned Marina Bay Suites development at the Marina Bay Financial Centre complex.

No Singapore projects completed in the first half of 2014, although US$34 million of writedowns previously made were reversed due to positive sales activity in current developments, principally at the Hallmark Residences project.

MCL Land is scheduled to complete two Singapore projects in the second half of the year: Terrasse, a 414-unit apartment complex that is fully sold, and Uber 388, a 95-unit project which is 98 per cent sold.

Palms@Sixth Avenue, a development of 32 freehold townhouses which is 38 per cent sold and the 75-unit Hallmark Residences, which is 59 per cent sold, will both be completed in early 2015.

The 679-unit Ripple Bay condominium project, which is fully sold, is also scheduled for completion next year.

The company has declared an unchanged interim dividend of six US cents a share.

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