Keppel Corporation turned in a better performance in the fourth quarter, compared to late 2017 when it had to pay massive fines over its corruption scandal.
It posted earnings of $135 million in the three months to Dec 31, a stark reversal from the $492 million loss recorded in the same period a year earlier when it took a hit of $619 million in one-off financial penalties its rig-building unit agreed to pay to resolve bribery charges in Brazil.
If that hefty fine was excluded from the 2017 result, Keppel's net profit for the 2018 quarter would have been 6 per cent higherwith the property division contributing the most to group earnings, followed by the infrastructure unit.
However, the group's operating profit for the quarter decreased by 97 per cent to $5 million compared to the fourth quarter in 2017, despite the higher revenue. This was due mainly to lower fair value gains on investment properties in the real estate division, higher provisions for expected losses on rigs for Sete Brasil contracts and provision for impairment of an associated company in the investments unit.
Earnings per share was 7.4 cents, compared with losses per share of 27.1 cents in the fourth quarter of 2017.
Group revenue was $1.67 billion, 9 per cent higher than a year earlier. All divisions, except property, lifted turnover in the quarter.
Net profit for the full year came in at $944 million, up 382 per cent, on revenue of $5.96 billion, a rise of 30 per cent compared to the previous year.
AT A GLANCE
FY 2018 REVENUE : $5.96 billion (+30%)
NET PROFIT: $944 million (+382%)
FINAL DIVIDEND PER SHARE: 15 cents
Chief executive Loh Chin Hua told a briefing that while there was growing optimism in the offshore and marine sector and signs of improvement in the offshore rig area, a V-shaped recovery was not envisaged.
Keppel has proposed a final dividend of 15 cents per share. Including the interim cash dividend of 10 cents a share and special cash dividend of five cents a share paid last August, the total distribution for the full year will be 30 cents a share, compared with 22 cents a share for 2017.
Keppel Corp shares closed up 0.33 per cent at $6.13 yesterday.