Metro's profit plunges 85% in Q4

Metro City Square was closed at the end of last year, when its lease expired, while the Sengkang outlet closed in August.
Metro City Square was closed at the end of last year, when its lease expired, while the Sengkang outlet closed in August.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

Retail business hit by closures of Sengkang, City Square outlets, but Indonesia unit offsets losses

The closures of the Metro Sengkang and Metro City Square stores sent earnings and revenue plunging at Metro Holdings in the fourth quarter.

Net profit dived 84.8 per cent to $1.15 million in the three months to March 31, while revenue fell 21.93 per cent to $32.57 million.

Retail revenue in Singapore, where Metro still operates three department stores, fell 21 per cent to $30.8 million in the fourth quarter, but its operations in Indonesia through an associated company helped to offset some of the losses, so overall retail profitability "declined marginally", the group said.

Property rental income fell $800,000 after Frontier Koi- shikawa was sold last August, while the group's China property investments were hurt by a weaker yuan.

The department store operator and property development and investment firm also reported lower fourth-quarter operating losses at Metro Centrepoint, which replaced Robinsons as the shopping centre's anchor tenant in 2014.

  • AT A GLANCE

  • Q4 REVENUE: $32.57 million (-21.93%)

    Q4 NET PROFIT: $1.15 million (-84.8%)

    ORDINARY DIVIDEND: Two cents a share (unchanged)

    SPECIAL DIVIDEND: Five cents a share (+ 1 cent)

Asked about Metro Centrepoint's performance at a results briefing yesterday, Mr David Tang, chief executive of Metro's retail business, said: "Over the past 12 months, we've seen the footfalls improving. Of course, it's still relatively low.

"The (mall renovation) is going to be completed in October, so we'll see from there. The positive thing is that the transactions are gaining, the average basket is healthy, everyone who has gone there likes that store. So we have to cross our fingers and hope the mall recovers."

The share of associates' results rose to $8 million in the fourth quarter, up from $800,000 a year earlier, due mainly to Metro's share of China property developer Top Spring's results improving by $17 million.

Turnover for the 12 months rose 6 per cent to $154.6 million, while net profit fell 20.82 per cent to $113 million, bringing full-year earnings per share to 13.7 cents, down from 17.3 cents a year ago.

Net asset value per share was $1.66 as at March 31, unchanged from a year earlier.

Metro has declared a final dividend of two cents a share and a special dividend of five cents a share, one cent higher than a year ago.

Earnings were posted before trading hours. Metro shares closed down four cents at $1.05 yesterday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 27, 2016, with the headline 'Metro's profit plunges 85% in Q4'. Print Edition | Subscribe