First Sponsor back in black for Q1, acquires two hotels in Amsterdam

SINGAPORE - Mainboard-listed First Sponsor Group swung to a profit in the first quarter of the year and also announced ongoing plans to acquire a property in Amsterdam for 54.6 million euros (S$78.8 million).

The group, which currently owns multiple Chinese residential and commercial properties, registered a net profit of $10.73 million in the first quarter ended March 31, 2015, compared with a loss of $9.18 million in the same period last year. The rise was driven by sustained growth in its property financing business.

Revenue swelled to $12.65 million in the first quarter, a 70.5 per cent rise compared with the previous quarter. This was due to higher revenue from property financing. Earnings per share for the quarter stands at 1.82 cents, compared to a loss per share of 3.16 cents previously.

During the quarter, the group's property financing business reaped revenues of $8.72 million, surging from $3.04 million a year ago, as secured entrusted loans to third parties reaped higher returns.

In a separate announcement, First Sponsor revealed that its unit, FS NL Property 2 B.V, has entered into a sale and purchase agreement with German firm IVG Institutional Funds on Monday.

The deal enables the group to acquire a plot of land owned by the Municipality of Amsterdam, in the business district of Amsterdam Southeast. The land primarily comprises two hotels - a Holiday Inn and a Holiday Inn Express - and 509 car park spaces.

This comes with an expected net rental yield of 7.2 per cent. The hotels and 440 carpark spots have been leased to a lessee under a master lease arrangement for 25 years starting May last year. The remaining 69 parking spots have been leased to another lessee for 10 years from August 2012.

Through the acquisition, the group aims to build up a larger recurrent income stream from its property business segments in the Netherlands. This move will also help with diversifying First Sponsor's asset portfolio.

The acquisition is slated for completion in mid-June this year.

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