The burden of the loss-making Tuaspring desalination and power plant cost water treatment firm Hyflux dearly in the first quarter.
Net losses plunged to $22.21 million in the three months to March 31, widening considerably from a restated loss of $64,000 a year earlier.
Excluding Tuaspring, Hyflux racked up net profit of $1.04 million, down 96 per cent from the corresponding quarter last year, when it recorded a one-off gain of $16.5 million from the disposal of its stake in Galaxy NewSpring.
The weak Singapore electricity market recorded an uptick in wholesale prices in March, resulting in a lower loss of $23.2 million for Tuaspring against a $27 million loss in the same quarter last year.
Hyflux said in February last year that it is exploring a partial divestment of Tuaspring, which has been a drag on earnings.
Revenue slid 21 per cent year-on-year to $72 million, due to lower engineering, procurement and construction activities from the TuasOne waste-to-energy project in Singapore and the Qurayyat Independent water project in Oman.
AT A GLANCE
REVENUE: $72 million (-21%)
NET LOSS: $22.2 million (comparison not meaningful)
Singapore with contributions of 58 per cent of revenue, and the Middle East on 32 per cent, remain Hyflux's key markets.
Other income fell from $31.56 million a year ago to $14.17 million as the corresponding quarter last year included the gain on disposal of the firm's stake in Galaxy Newspring.
Staff costs were 8 per cent higher at $26.13 million, due largely to the TuasOne project. Loss per share for the quarter was 4.53 cents versus 1.82 cents previously, while net asset value per share was 13.1 cents against 14.1 cents as of Dec 31.
Hyflux said divestment discussions of the Tuaspring and Tianjin Dagang plants are in progress with interested parties, while separate discussions are under way with potential investors to inject additional funds for the group's growth activities.
Hyflux shares closed down one cent to 21 cents yesterday before the results were announced.