Property giant City Developments (CDL) found it impossible to follow the boom year of 2016 with earnings down in the fourth quarter.
Net profit fell 23 per cent to $186.7 million for the three months to Dec 31, while revenue rose nearly 14 per cent to $1.33 billion.
This was mainly due to contribution from The Brownstone executive condominium, which obtained its temporary occupation permit in October, the strong take-up for Gramercy Park and sales from existing projects.
CDL said its exceptional showing in 2016 proved hard to beat on a year-on-year comparison.
Its performance then was boosted in part by a sizeable contribution from Hong Leong City Center in Suzhou, and higher profit margins at projects like Coco Palms and D'Nest.
Earnings per share for the quarter were 19.8 cents compared with 26.1 cents a year earlier, while net asset value was $10.54 against $10.22 as of Dec 31, 2016.
Full-year revenue fell 2 per cent to $3.8 billion while earnings dropped 17.6 per cent to $538.2 million.
AT A GLANCE
REVENUE: $3.83 billion (-2%)
NET PROFIT: $538.2 million (-17.6%)
TOTAL DIVIDENDS PER SHARE: 18 cents (+12.5%)
Group chief executive Sherman Kwek said: "2016 was a very, very strong year and therefore it was inevitably going to be very difficult to make comparisons and references to that year... We would always be down against that."
CDL has recommended a special final dividend of six cents a share in addition to the final dividend of eight cents a share.
Considering the special interim dividend of four cents paid last September, the total payout for last year will amount to 18 cents a share, up from 16 cents a share in 2016.
Chairman Kwek Leng Beng told a results briefing that CDL cannot make another buyout bid for its hospitality subsidiary Millennium & Copthorne (M&C) in the next 12 months after its initial offer lapsed.
He added that the dissenting shareholders' suggested offer price of £8.22 a share was ludicrous, noting that M&C is more than just a hotel-owning firm, but also a business that operates hotels, and therefore should be valued on its earnings. CDL had offered £6.20 a share.
At the briefing, the elder Mr Kwek said if a new party is prepared to give CDL enough votes to privatise the subsidiary, it will look at the deal "seriously" again.
"Just because there are some activist shareholders not happy that want us to pay £10, I can say goodbye to them; they will never see the £10. If they want me to buy it at £10, I won't even want to sell. Because to build up this international portfolio takes us many, many years."
CDL shares closed up three cents to $12.76 yesterday.