Metro profit down, but sales steady

Metro said its retail division will continue to face challenges in a competitive environment, amid high operating costs. But despite a subdued retail environment, the firm managed to maintain overall sales levels, helped by the moving-out sales at Me
Metro said its retail division will continue to face challenges in a competitive environment, amid high operating costs. But despite a subdued retail environment, the firm managed to maintain overall sales levels, helped by the moving-out sales at Metro City Square. PHOTO: METRO

Q3 profit falls 12.6% to $55.9m; group also announces deal to take stake in British office project

A subdued retail environment hit third-quarter earnings at property development and investment group Metro Holdings.

The firm, which posted its results yesterday, also paid tribute to its late group managing director Jopie Ong.

Net profit dropped 12.57 per cent to $55.9 million for the three months to Dec 31, while revenue dipped 1.3 per cent to $41 million.

The firm maintained overall sales levels, which was helped by the moving-out sales of Metro City Square.

Metro said that "more than offset the impact from an absence of sales from the closed Metro Sengkang department store".

Metro also noted that the retail division's associated company in Indonesia reported lower sales for its Jakarta stores amid strong competition, but "profitability improved as operating expenditure was contained".

  • AT A GLANCE

  • NET PROFIT: $55.9 million (-12.6%)

    REVENUE: $41 million (-1.3%)

The group's property division reported that third-quarter turnover fell from $2.7 million in the same period a year ago to $1.9 million, mainly owing to the sale of its Frontier Koishikawa property in Japan last August.

Earnings per share fell from 7.7 cents a year earlier to 6.7 cents, while net asset value per share was $1.71, up from $1.66 as at March 31.

The firm said: "The retail division continues to face the challenges of a competitive and discounted trading environment, amid high operating costs."

Metro added that it will also continue to be affected by major currency translation adjustments on its foreign operations, which will also have an impact on the results and other comprehensive income.

Chairman Winston Choo also acknowledged the huge contribution Mr Ong, who died at the age of 75 last Tuesday, made to the group.

He said in a statement: "It was with deep sadness that we announced the passing of our group managing director, Mr Jopie Ong, earlier this month.

"Having been a board member since 1973, it was with his dedicated and strategic leadership that Metro is, today, a robust enterprise with property and retail interests around the region and in Britain." Mr Ong was known as the first retailer to introduce luxury brands, such as Cartier and Gucci, to Singapore.

Metro announced yesterday that its unit has entered a share purchase agreement to buy a 50 per cent stake in an office development site in Sheffield, Britain. The site has planning permission to build two office buildings, one with about 80,300 sq ft of space and the other with 50,900 sq ft of net internal area.

Metro shares closed half a cent down at 87 cents yesterday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 12, 2016, with the headline 'Metro profit down, but sales steady'. Print Edition | Subscribe