Department store operator Metro Holdings has reported a sharp jump in first-quarter net profit, driven mainly by a $41.7 million gain on the disposal of EC Mall in Beijing.
Earnings for the three months to June 30 soared from $10.1 million last year to $37.5 million, a jump of 269.9 per cent.
Revenue climbed by 36.8 per cent to $42.7 million, mainly due to the higher turnover driven by the retail division's new Metro Centrepoint store.
The store commenced operations in the third quarter of the financial year ended March 31.
There was also strong support for Metro Sengkang's closing- down sale.
AT A GLANCE
REVENUE: $42.7 million (+36.8%)
NET PROFIT: $37.5 million (+269.9%)
This led to the reduction of the retail division's losses, which declined to $1.2 million from $1.6 million previously.
Overall, pre-tax profit climbed by 278.7 per cent to $42.6 million.
The increase was contributed by higher share of results of joint ventures, which rose to $47 million from $7.4 million previously.
Aside from the one-off gain on the disposal of EC Mall, its pre-tax profit growth was also contributed by a gain of $4.6 million from share of associates' results against a loss of $700,000 previously, mainly from unrealised fair value gains on investment properties.
These were partially offset by lower other income, which fell to $4.8 million from $6.3 million in the same period last year, due to the elimination of dividend income on consolidation after Top Spring was treated as an associate company with effect from July 1 last year.
Earnings per share swelled to 4.5 cents from 1.2 cents previously, while net asset value per share inched up to $1.68 compared with $1.66 as at March 31.
"In line with our strategy to further build our presence and investment in China, we have recently invested in a property fund - InfraRed NF China Real Estate Fund II," said Metro chairman Winston Choo.
Metro expects the rental income of its property division, excluding rental contribution from the recently divested Frontier Koishikawa project in Japan, to remain stable.
In China, work on Metro City Shanghai's reconfiguration exercise continues even as operating contribution from EC Mall has ceased.
The group's Nanchang project in Jiangxi province will continue to recognise profits on sales of properties, as each phase is completed and handed over.
The next major phases are scheduled for completion late this year.
The Nanchang project pre-sold about 24,684 sq m in gross floor area in the first quarter for HK$569.7 million (S$103 million), which took total sales of this associate to HK$5.5 billion as at June 30.