United Engineers' full year earnings down on lower property revenue

SINGAPORE - United Engineers reported lower earnings in 2015 as a fall in property development revenue failed to offset gains from other key businesses.

Net profit was $102.2 million last year, down 17 per cent compared with 2014. Revenue dropped 42 per cent year-on-year to $1.86 billion, the property and engineering firm announced after market close on Feb 26.

Earnings per share were 16 cents, down from 19.4 cents a year ago. Net asset value was $2.97 a share at the end of 2015, up from $2.93 a year ago.

Last year's revenue was hit mainly by the absence of contribution from Austville Residences project, the revenue of which was already booked in 2014. As a result, property development revenue pared 54 per cent to $402 million in 2015.

But this was offset by higher contribution from Nasdaq-listed subsidiary Multi-Fineline Electronix, while the group's engineering and distribution revenue rose 8 per cent year-on-year to $285.6 million on the back of environmental engineering projects.

Looking ahead, the management expects market headwinds to pressure its property businesses.

"The sustained impact of property cooling measures, the global economic slowdown, as well as increased volatilities in the financial and commodities markets continue to weigh in on the sentiment of the property markets in Singapore," the company said, adding that China's slowdown will also impact its property division there.

United Engineers shares closed down one cent to $2.04 ahead of the results announcement.