Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Keppel Land Q4 profit up almost eight-fold

KEPPEL Land has reported a fourth-quarter net profit of $841 million - almost eight times that of $106.9 million a year earlier - with the boost coming from a $364 million gain from the sale of the group's one-third interest in phase one of Marina Bay Financial Centre (MBFC) and a $426 million fair value gain from investment properties.

At the operating level, net profit for the three months ended Dec 31, 2010, jumped 21.9 per cent to $72.3 million.

The developer also said it plans to pay out a dividend of 18 cents per share for 2010, comprising a special dividend of 9 cents per share and an ordinary dividend of 9 cents per share. Last year, it paid out 8 cents a share in all.

Revenue for Q4 2010 dipped 6 per cent to $281.5 million - from $300.5 million for the same three months in 2009 - as Keppel Land completed more homes the previous year. But earnings were boosted as the group sold its one-third interest in the first phase of Marina Bay Financial Centre to its listed trust K-Reit Asia. Its fair value gain also reversed a fair value loss of $12 million in 2009.

For the whole of 2010, Keppel Land's net profit grew by 273 per cent to $1.05 billion from $280.4 million in 2009. But revenue dipped 14 per cent to $792.3 million from $923.9 million.

The developer sold more homes in Singapore and overseas in 2010. In total, Keppel Land sold 5,250 homes last year, about 50 per cent more than in 2009.

Overseas, a record 4,600 homes were sold mainly from the group's residential townships in China. But the group also sold some units in Singapore - it tendered for a site in May 2010 and launched the project in just six months in November. About 480 units of the 629 units in The Lakefront Residences have been sold so far.

Keppel Land is upbeat about the prospects of both the residential and office markets in Singapore.

'In Singapore, prospective buyers may hold back their purchasing decision after the government's recent anti-speculation measures to cool down the property market,' said group chief executive Kevin Wong. 'However, as the growth prospects for Singapore and Asia remain positive, the housing market will continue to attract both local and foreign buyers. While sales volume may be moderated, prices should remain stable.'

Several launches have been planned for 2011. In Singapore, a new phase of Lakefront Residences will be released as well as the remaining units of Marina Bay Suites and Reflections at Keppel Bay. Mr Wong also said that Singapore's prime office market is expected to continue to attract demand with the growth of finance and business services industries.

Keppel Land, which has $1.5 billion in cash and a net debt-equity ratio of 0.2, plans to grow further with acquisitions in both Singapore and overseas in 2011.

The group's shares gained 4 cents to close at $4.57 yesterday.

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