UOL Group is still on the lookout for more residential sites with strong attributes in Singapore, despite having secured a few sites ahead of the run-up in land prices.
Deputy group CEO Liam Wee Sin, however, expressed concern over the aggressive escalation of land prices in its full-year earnings briefing. He noted that the reserve price of some collective sale sites whose tenders closed without a deal "doesn't work" based on the group's feasibility studies.
"We have made our acquisitions early but that does not mean we don't continue to replenish (landbank). We will continue to comb both the government land sale sites and collective sale sites," Mr Liam told analysts and reporters. "We see sustained growth of the economy, which is expected to power ahead, riding on the global economy. We see the rebound in the residential market continuing. This sector looks promising as we expect demand to continue to keep prices firm."
AT A GLANCE
$2.1 billion (+46%)
$891 million (+210%)
FINAL DIVIDEND PER SHARE:
17.5 cents (+16.7%)
UOL had acquired a site at 45 Amber Road under private treaty in early 2017 and the former Raintree Gardens in Potong Pasir through a collective sale in October 2016. The new condominium projects on these sites are estimated to have 139 units and 729 units respectively and are expected to be launched this year.
Another 57-unit project on the Meyer Road site of the former Nanak Mansions, secured by UOL through a collective sale last September, is expected to be launched next year with "big-format units".
In setting the selling prices for Amber 45, the project at 45 Amber Road, Mr Liam said the group will take the cue from the first project launch this year to see if projected higher prices will indeed materialise; Amber 45's prices could be north of $2,000 per square foot.
Besides the local residential market, the group is also allocating more capital to overseas recurring-income properties such as offices, serviced apartments and hotels. For office properties, it remains keen on Singapore, Australia and London, Mr Liam said.
UOL on Tuesday said net profit for the year ended Dec 31 jumped 210 per cent to $891 million on the back of higher contributions from all core business segments and accounting for United Industrial Corporation (UIC) as a subsidiary.
Group revenue rose 46 per cent to $2.1 billion due mainly to the consolidation of the UIC Group and the associated and joint venture companies of UOL Group and UIC Group with effect from September 2017, which added a combined $544.7 million to UOL's topline.