Earnings at United Engineers slump 72% on absence of one-off gains

SINGAPORE - First-quarter earnings at United Engineers slumped by 72 per cent to S$6.9 million on the back of a 35 per cent drop in revenue to $333.6 million.

Earnings per share for the three months to March 31 fell to 1.1 cents from 3.9 cents previously while net asset value per share inched down to $2.94 from $2.97 as at Dec 31.

The fall in revenue was mainly due to lower revenue recognition from condominium project, Eight Riversuites, which has sold 98 per cent of the total units, as well as lower revenue contribution from Multi-Fineline Electronix, Inc.

As a result, gross profit decreased 32 per cent to $58.4 million.

Other income dived by 91 per cent to $1 million from $11.2 million in the same period last year, mainly due to the absence of divestment and disposal gains.

On its prospects, United Engineers noted that the global economic slowdown and the weaker economic prospects in Singapore, coupled with the sustained impact of the property cooling measures, will continue to weigh on the sentiment of the property markets in Singapore.

Its China property division is also likely to continue to face challenging operating conditions against the backdrop of slower economic growth and patchy demand in the property market in China.

The accounting treatment on revenue recognition for certain projects using the completion-of-construction method will result in volatility in the recognition of revenues and profits, the company said.

Revenue generated from the group's portfolio of investment properties will help to reduce this volatility, it added.