Metro sees 84.8% fall in Q4 profit on lower sales, exchange differences

Shoppers outside a Metro departmental store.
Shoppers outside a Metro departmental store.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Retailer and property developer Metro Holdings reported a 84.8 per cent slide in fourth-quarter earnings to S$1.12 million from S$7.59 million in the year-ago period on lower turnover and exchange differences.

Revenue for the group shrank 21 per cent to S$32.6 million for three months March 31 from S$41.7 million a year ago after Metro Sengkang and Metro City Square ceased operations.

Other income fell 71.9 per cent to S$2.7 million from S$9.6 million, mainly due to exchange differences, Metro said in a filing to the Singapore Exchange on Thursday (May 26).

For the full year, net profit declined 20.8 per cent to S$113.13 million from S$142.87 million for fiscal 2015.

Metro's board has recommended a final dividend of two Singapore cents per share and a special dividend of five Singapore cents per share.

Looking ahead, Metro said it will continue to be affected by "significant currency translation adjustments on foreign operations ...due to volatility in foreign currency exchange rates", noting that a large share of its investment properties and projects are located in China and denominated in the Chinese Renminbi.

Daid Metro chairman Winston Choo: "Given our in-depth knowledge of the Chinese property market, we will continue to seek out good investment opportunities in vibrant cities to prudently grow our quality asset portfolio.

"At the same time, for sustained profitability, we are firmly focused on new investments in property developments - commercial, mixed-use and residential developments - from a wider geographical reach, to enhance value for all shareholders.

"In Singapore, the market sentiment of Singapore's residential property sector remains cautious and sales of the group's residential project, The Crest at Prince Charles Crescent, continues to be weak," he added.

For the retail division, the outlook remains challenging, especially with the competitiveness of the industry, discounted trading environment and high operating costs, said Metro.

It expects Metro Centrepoint's sales to remain affected as The Centrepoint has been undergoing a makeover since May 2015.