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Aspial Q2 net profit soars 71%, declares higher dividend

PROPERTY developer and jeweller Aspial Corp on Thursday posted a 71 per cent rise in net profit to S$10 million in the second quarter from the same period a year earlier.

Revenue in the three months ended June 30 was S$139 million, down 35 per cent from the same period a year earlier.

Share of results from associates and a joint venture was S$13 million, up from S$864,000 in the same period a year earlier, as Aspial booked a gain on the sale of Crowne Plaza London Kensington in April by AF Global.

Employee benefits also fell 41 per cent to S$92 million, due mainly to lower staff costs for the Singapore real estate business.

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In Singapore, Aspial will continue to sell the remaining commercial units in CityGate project, which obtained its Temporary Occupation Permit in December 2018, the group said.

Aspial continues to "make good progress" with the construction of the Australia 108 project, it added.

Total loans and borrowings of S$510.1 million as at June 30 were S$63.6 million lower than at the end of March, due mainly to the repayment of loans for the Australia 108 project.

Of the total loans and borrowings of S$510.1 million, about S$182.7 million was for property development-related loans for the real estate business and the balance of S$327.4 million was mainly working capital/mortgage loan for the financial service and jewellery business, investment in properties and securities.

Outstanding term notes and bonds (including Maxi-Cash Financial Services' term notes of S$65.5 million) were S$498.5 million, S$64.2 million lower than at the end of March, due to the redemption of notes due in June and open market purchases of bonds and term notes by the group.

Aspial said: "The group expects to improve its debt and cash profile in the coming quarters as it expects to receive cash proceeds from the settlement and handover of units for Australia 108.

"As part of the group's strategy to improve its debt position, the group intends to use part of the cash proceeds to purchase some of its remaining term notes and bonds, which may include, but not limited to, those due in 2020, prior to the maturity dates of these notes and bonds."

An interim dividend of 0.38 Singapore cent per share has been declared, up from 0.25 Singapore cent per share in the first-half last year.

Earnings per share was 0.52 Singapore cent, up from 0.31 Singapore cent in the same period a year earlier.

Net asset value per share was 16.72 Singapore cents as at June 30 from 15.80 Singapore cents as at Dec 31 last year.

Aspial shares fell half a Singapore cent or 2.78 per cent to S$0.175 on Thursday before the results were announced.

Amendment note: An earlier version of this story misstated the EPS.