Metro Holdings Q4 profit rises to $51m, promotes Yip Hoong Mun to CEO

Metro appointed Yip Hoong Mun as group chief executive officer and executive director, effective June 1 and in line with its succession plan.
Metro appointed Yip Hoong Mun as group chief executive officer and executive director, effective June 1 and in line with its succession plan.PHOTO: METRO CHINA HOLDINGS

SINGAPORE - Mainboard-listed Metro Holdings on Tuesday (May 28) recorded a net profit of $51.0 million for the fourth quarter ended March 31, up from $930,000 in the year-ago period. This came on the back of fair value gains on its investment properties from its joint venture results.

Earnings per share fell to 11.5 cents, from 19.2 cents a year ago, according to a regulatory filing before the market opened.

The company is proposing a final dividend of two cents and final special dividend of 2.5 cents per share. A year ago, the company gave a final dividend of two cents, and a special dividend of three cents.

Metro shares last closed at $0.99 on Monday, down one cent or one per cent.

Revenue for the quarter increased 16.6 per cent to $40.0 million, from $34.3 million a year ago.

Metro's property division saw revenue rise to $7.9 million, from $1.7 million a year ago, due to recognised revenue of $6.1 million from the sale of property rights of Indonesian residential development properties in Bekasi, Jakarta.

Its Singapore retail division recorded marginally lower sales at $32.1 million, from $32.6 million a year ago. In Indonesia, the company narrowed its loss to $700,000 from $900,000 a year ago, with its associate company in Indonesia reporting strong competition.

Its fair value gain on investment property of $14.7 million was from its GIE Tower in Guangzhou.

The share of results of joint ventures increased to $32.1 million, from $3.2 million a year ago, due to fair value gains of $22.6 million on investment properties from Metro Tower and Metro City, Shanghai, and 5 Chancery Lane, London. The 50 per cent held joint venture owning the London property had recorded a fair value gain of $3.3 million, compared with a fair value loss of $4.2 million the year before.

Other net income fell 48.1 per cent to $16.0 million, from $30.8 million the year prior, due to the absence of a one-off divestment gain of $15.8 million from the group's disposal of its 30 per cent interest in its associate in Nanchang and a gain on disposal of a long term investment of $3.6 million.

For the full year ended March 31, net profit fell 40.2 per cent to $95.3 million, from $159.2 million a year ago. Revenue was up 26.1 per cent to $172.0 million, from $136.3 million a year ago.

On its outlook, Metro said rental income from investment property GIE Tower and those held by its joint ventures are expected to remain steady.

Sales of its residential project, The Crest at Prince Charles Crescent, will be subject to cooling measures announced in July last year in the Singapore property market.

In Shanghai, leasing activities for office buildings in Bay Valley, New Jiangwan City and Yangpu District, are underway. The commencement of asset enhancement works for its joint venture in Shanghai Plaza, as well as leasing activities, is also underway.

Metro Holdings added it would "continue to be subject to significant currency translation adjustments on foreign operations" which will affect the results and other comprehensive income and the balance sheet.

In a separate filing on Tuesday, Metro announced it has appointed Yip Hoong Mun as group chief executive officer (CEO) and executive director, effective June 1 and in line with its succession plan.

In his new role, Mr Yip will be tasked with overseeing and driving the group's investment strategies and hold executive responsibility over the group's business performance. He is currently deputy group CEO, a position he has held since May 2018.

Before that, he was group chief operating officer and CEO of Metro China Holdings since January 2017.

Mr Yip succeeds Lawrence Chiang, who steps down on May 31, after 30 years at Metro. To ensure a smooth transition, Mr Chiang has been appointed advisor of the group with effect from June 1.

Metro chairman Winston Choo said succession planning has always been a priority to ensure the continuity and execution of core strategies at Metro.

He added that the board has been working closely with the management team on succession planning with the key strategic objectives of deepening the group's management bench and ensuring the right mix of talent to drive the group's next growth phase.