SINGAPORE - Developer GuocoLand reported a more than doubling of its third quarter net profit to $$29.6 million from $11.3 million in the same period last year.
Revenue for the three months to March 31 rose by 63 per cent to $271.1 million.
Gross profit climbed by 28 per cent to $63.2 million, due to higher sales and progressive revenue recognition from Singapore's residential projects.
The group also benefited from favourable foreign exchange rate movement. It posted a net forex gain of $18.9 million against a loss of $9.5 million in the year-ago period.
Other income rose by $4.3 million and other expenses fell by $9.5 million, mainly due tothe forex movements as well as fair value changes on forex hedges.
Finance costs increased by $10.3 million to $21.7 million, owing predominantly to lower capitalisation of finance costs with the obtaining of the Temporary Occupation Permits for Tanjong Pagar Centre's office and basement retail components in October last year.
Earnings per share swelled to 2.66 cents from 0.8 cent previously while net asset value per share was unchanged at $2.95.
During the quarter, GuocoLand received the remaining sum of 593.7 million yuan from the disposal of subsidiaries relating to the Dongzhimen project in China.
As a result of this and collections from sales proceeds from residential projects, the group's trade and other receivables reduced by 45 per cent to $219.1 million.
Inventories, meanwhile, climbed by 38 per cent to $3.34 billion, mainly due to land acquisitions of a residential site at Martin Place in Singapore and four land plots in Chongqing, China.
As at March 31, the group's gearing is about one time.
Looking ahead, GuocoLand noted that office and retail rents in Singapore have been on the decline and property consultants expect further pressure on rents with a rise in office vacancy this year.
"Nevertheless, Tanjong Pagar Centre's office and retail components have achieved healthy commitment levels of approximately 90 per cent," it added.
In Malaysia, the group will continue to focus on sales and leasing of its current projects amid challenging operating conditions.
Nonetheless, it sees opportunities in the soft property market and has completed the acquisitions of two land parcels in Batu 9, Cheras during the quarter.
In contrast, the property market is red hot in China, with new home prices increasing in 56 cities out of 70 cities in February, up from 45 cities in January. While new home prices in Shanghai rose just 0.2 per cent month-on-month, it was up 21.1 per cent compared to a year ago.
As a result, the authorities announced in March new property tightening policies in some of the larger cities to cool the property market.