Lian Beng group's profit, revenue increases, firm proposes 1 cent per share dividend

SINGAPORE - Civil engineering and construction firm Lian Beng Group has turned in strong fourth quarter results owing to higher investment property valuations and better contributions from associates and joint ventures.

Net profit for the quarter ended May 31 surged 49.6 per cent to S$54.2 million as revenue grew 20.6 per cent to S$177.1 million.

For the full year, net profits jumped 24 per cent to S$108 million as revenue rose 9.4 per cent to S$747 million.

The better full-year figures came partly because the share of profits from associates and joint venutres surged to S$43.625 million this year from S$4.177 million the year before. This increase was mainly owing to a gain on disposal of the group's 19 per cent-owned joint venture company, 122 Middle Investment, for S$270 million.

Another boost to the bottomline came from a S$52.374 million fair value gain in the group's investment property last year, up from a S$37.24 million gain the year before.

The profit improvement came despite the previous year getting a boost from a one-off profit recognition from the group's industrial property property development project M-Space.

The jump in revenue in the period under review came mostly from construction activities. Revenue from construction last year grew 46.7 per cent.

Earnings per share (EPS) for the fourth quarter was 10.62 cents up from 6.83 cents a year earlier. For the full year, EPS was 20.85 cents up fromfrom 16.45 cents.

Net asset value per ordinary share was 91 cents at May 31, up from 74.49 cents a year earlier.

The group proposed a dividend of one cent per share and a special dividend of one cent per share.

Earlier in the year ending May 31, the company paid out an interim dividend of one cent per share.

Executive chairman Ong Pang Aik noted that while not all business areas had grown in the year, the areas which performed better made overall growth possible.

"We are actively seeking opportunities local and overseas to further enrich our revenue sources," he said.

Lian Beng also said in a statement that it intends to continue to increase recurring income from dormitory, property investment and construction-related services.

The company's shares closed 0.5 cents or 0.91 per cent lower at 54.5 cents.

jkoh@sph.com.sg