The Business Times | Posted: 29 March 2013
Strong contributions from associated companies and joint ventures helped Low Keng Huat (Singapore) cushion the impact of a sharp drop in revenue in its fiscal fourth quarter.
For the three months ended Jan 31, it recorded a 30 per cent jump in net profit to $42.2 million.
Share of results of associated companies and joint ventures doubled to $34 million. Also helping were $4.2 million in "other income" stemming from fair-value gain on short-term quoted investments and a 61 per cent fall in "other operating expenses" to $2.2 million.
The fourth-quarter revenue dropped 40 per cent to $25.2 million owing to a fall in construction activities.
Earnings per share (EPS) for Q4 was 5.77 cents, up from 4.38 cents a year ago.
For the 12 months to Jan 31, the group reported a 28 per cent increase in net profit to $109.7 million.
"The increase was mainly due to higher profits from development, hotel and investment segments offset by lower profit from construction segment," it said.
Full-year revenue fell 7 per cent to $126.4 million.
This was worsened by cost of sales jumping 140 per cent to $70 million, mainly a result of the completion of major construction projects, and with distribution costs more than quadrupling to $16 million from marketing expenses incurred for two of its development projects.
For the year, the share of results of associated companies and joint ventures more than trebled to $94.8 million from $26.7 million, due to increased contribution from the 1,145-unit Minton condominium project, which was fully sold as at June 8 last year; lower tax provision as a result of lower profits from the construction segment also meant lower taxation.
EPS for the year was 28 per cent higher at 14.92 cents. The group had cash and cash equivalents of $205.5 million as at Jan 31 and a gearing of 0.63.
The company said the global economy remained uncertain and that growth in Singapore was still subdued. It added that it expected the latest round of cooling measures here and the release of more land for development to dampen buying sentiment. "We remain cautiously optimistic and will continue to be selective in our project tendering," it said.
It proposed a first and final dividend of 3 cents and a special dividend of 1.5 cents per share.
The counter closed 4.3 per cent higher yesterday at 73 cents, before results were announced.
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