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Low Keng Huat Q4 profit spikes on recent projects

Low Keng Huat (Singapore) recognised two completed projects to give its fourth-quarter net profit a sharp spike despite declines in every other business segment, the builder and developer announced on Friday evening.

Net profit in the three months ended March rose to S$61.4 million, or 8.31 Singapore cents, from a year-ago S$6.7 million. For the full fiscal year, net profit tripled to S$144.9 million, or 19.62 Singapore cents per share.

The company is declaring a first and final dividend of 3 Singapore cents per share, as well as a special dividend of another 2 Singapore cents per share, raising its full-year pay-out to 5 Singapore cents per share.

Shares of Low Keng Huat closed at 77 Singapore cents, up by 0.7 per cent of half a cent, on Friday before the results were announced.

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Low Keng Huat's develop, build and sell scheme project, Parkland Residences, and its Paya Lebar Square retail and commercial building were completed during the year, contributing $1.1 billion of revenue in fiscal 2015 that was absent in fiscal 2014.

That helped to offset losses in other business segments.

Construction pre-tax loss grew to S$9.4 million in the fourth quarter, compared to a S$2.1 million loss a year earlier as the company wrote back S$11 million of project costs for completed projects in the previous year and incurred S$2.5 million more in employee-related costs.

The hotel and food-and-beverage businesses fell into a S$0.4 million pre-tax loss from a year-ago profit of S$1 million, on a combination of weaknesses in Perth and Saigon, and closure of food and beverage outlets.

Investments, mostly in properties and shares, saw pre-tax profit decline by about a quarter to S$1.7 million during the year.


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