Strong sales send profits up 83% at AVJennings

SC Global unit gains from positive market conditions; raises total dividend payout

Australian residential property developer AVJennings posted an 83.1 per cent rise in full-year net profit to A$34.4 million (S$35.4 million), amid better market conditions and stronger sales figures around the country and in New Zealand.

Revenue surged 26.9 per cent to A$317.9 million at the firm, a unit of Singapore developer SC Global.

A final dividend of three Australian cents per share was declared, taking the year's total dividend to four Australian cents, up from two Australian cents the previous year.

The company said that it would target an annual dividend payout range of 40 to 50 per cent of profit after tax for future years.

Contract signings came to 1,737 lots for the year, well above the 1,415 lots achieved previously. Sales rose 22.6 per cent to 1,538 lots.

Standout contributors were New South Wales, Queensland and New Zealand, which all "benefited from... active project and product mix changes that enabled the company to capitalise on the underlying strength of each market".

Standout contributors were New South Wales, Queensland and New Zealand, which all "benefited from... active project and product mix changes that enabled the company to capitalise on the underlying strength of each market", it said.

Chairman Simon Cheong said the company's restructuring following the sale of the contract housing arm in 2010 is producing results. It has led to "a more streamlined business strategy and cost structures".

Significant contributions came from various projects - Arcadian Hills, Argyle at Elderslie, Cavanstone and The Ponds in Sydney; Magnolia in New South Wales; Big Sky, Creekwood, Nottingham Square and Elysium in Queensland; and Catalina in Auckland, New Zealand.

The firm's land holdings increased "for the first time in a number of years because of some significant acquisitions", said chief executive Peter Summers.

Controlled land rose 10.6 per cent to 10,198 lots, following acquisitions that included 50ha of land at Warnervale Central Coast in New South Wales and a plot of up to 691 lots at Williamstown in Victoria.

Earnings per share came to 9.03 Australian cents for the year, up from 4.94 Australian cents before.

Net tangible assets per share rose to 87.8 Australian cents from 82.3 Australian cents previously.

The company's gearing ratio - net debt as a proportion of total assets - improved as well, from 17.1 per cent to 13.6 per cent.

Market conditions should remain "positive for the foreseeable future", said Mr Cheong. Key economic drivers are positive, with low interest rate and inflation expectations, positive population growth and continued housing shortages in Sydney and Auckland.

"The level of contracts carried over into the first half of fiscal 2016 will give a strong start," the company noted.

AVJennings shares closed three Australian cents higher at 65 Australian cents yesterday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 21, 2015, with the headline 'Strong sales send profits up 83% at AVJennings'. Print Edition | Subscribe