Uni-Asia swings to Q4 profit of US$1.4m on higher investment gains, income

SINGAPORE - Mainboard-listed Uni-Asia Group on Thursday (March 1) posted a fourth-quarter net profit of US$1.4 million - a reversal from its year-ago net loss of US$13.6 million - mainly due to greater investment returns and higher income.

Earnings per share for the quarter stood at 2.93 US cents per share, from a loss per share of 29 US cents last year.

Subject to shareholders' approval, a one-tier, tax-exempt dividend of 6.25 Singapore cents per share has been proposed for fiscal year 2017, as compared to a dividend of three Singapore cents in the preceding year.

Uni-Asia is an alternative investment company, and an integrated service provider of vessels and properties.

For the three months ended Dec 31, the group registered a 39 per cent increase in total income to US$30.3 million, while full-year income rose 20 per cent to US$103.9 million from the year-ago period.

These came on the back of a US$4.35 million realised gain from investment properties, a US$1.2 million fair value gain from investment properties and a US$6.8 million net fair value gain from the group's Hong Kong property projects.

These were partly offset by additional net fair valuation loss of US$6.2 million booked mainly for tanker and containership investments, Uni-Asia said.

For FY17, charter income also rose 10 per cent to US$37.8 million, while hotel income climbed 15 per cent to US$48.1 million from last year.

Looking ahead, the group expects the operating environment for its shipping business to improve, as "the oversupply situation in the dry-bulker segment eases, and global economic growth remains healthy".

The group also intends to expand its hotel operating business in Japan by adding five hotels to its portfolio in 2018.

As at 11.36am on Friday, shares in Uni-Asia Group were trading 2.17 per cent, or three Singapore cents higher, at S$1.41 apiece.