One-off gain from mall sale lifts Q1 earnings at Metro Holdings

Earnings for the three months to June 30 at department store operator Metro holdings soared to $37.5 million, up from $10.1 million over the same period last year.
Earnings for the three months to June 30 at department store operator Metro holdings soared to $37.5 million, up from $10.1 million over the same period last year. ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

SINGAPORE - Department store operator Metro Holdings has reported a sharp jump in first quarter net profit, driven mainly by a gain on disposal of EC Mall in Beijing amounting to $41.7 million.

Earnings for the three months to June 30 soared to $37.5 million from $10.1 million in the same period last year.

Revenue climbed by 36.8 per cent to $42.7 million, mainly due to the higher turnover driven by the retail division's new Metro Centrepoint store, which commenced operations in the third quarter of its financial year ended March 31, 2015, as well as strong support for Metro Sengkang's closing down sale.

This led to the reduction of the retail division's losses, which declined to $1.2 million from $1.6 million previously.

Overall, the group's pretax profit climbed by 278.7 per cent to $42.6 million.

The increase was contributed by higher share of results of joint ventures, which rose to $47 million from $7.4 million previously.

Aside from the one-off gain on disposal of EC Mall, its pretax profit growth was also contributed by a gain of $4.6 million from share of associates' results against a loss of $700,000 previously, mainly from unrealised fair value gains on investment properties.

These were partially offset by lower other income, which fell to $4.8 million from $6.3 million in the same period last year, due to the elimination of dividend income on consolidation after Top Spring was treated as an associate company with effect from July 1, 2014.

In addition, a fair value loss of $2.1 million as compared to a gain of $2.2 million was registered over the same period from the group's portfolio of short term equity investments in real estate investment trusts.

Earnings per share swelled to 4.5 cents from 1.2 cents previously while net asset value per share inched up to $1.68 compared to $1.66 as at March 31.

"In line with our strategy to further build our presence and investment in China, we have recently invested in a property fund - InfraRed NF China Real Estate Fund II," said Metro chairman Winston Choo.

"This follow-on fund is also the second fund that we have collaborated on, with our partners."

The fund is sponsored by InfraRed NF China Holdings, a joint venture between InfraRed Capital Partners which is a global real estate and infrastructure fund management business with over US$8 billion of equity under management, and major property player Nan Fung Group.