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CSE Global posts 0.5% rise in Q1 profit to S$5.7 million

MAINBOARD-LISTED CSE Global, which deals in both oil and gas and telecommunications, saw net profit pick up in the first quarter as margins improved, despite a slump in revenue.

Earnings ticked up by 0.5 per cent year on year to S$5.7 million for the three months to March 31, according to results released on Monday. Shorn of the impact from a smaller net currency gain, post-tax profit would have risen by 5.3 per cent to S$4.6 million, the group noted.

This was even as turnover came in 7.4 per cent lower, at S$85.4 million, on lower large greenfield revenues recognised and delivery delays for some projects in the Americas.

Revenue from the Americas - a core market for the group - took a beating in the quarter on the absence of large greenfield projects and a non-recurring project from the previous year.

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Europe, the Middle East and Africa stayed dolorous, but losses before interest and tax narrowed on more profitable project revenues and a writeback for doubtful trade receivables.

Meanwhile, Asia-Pacific contributions, which made up about one-third of revenue, inched up.

CSE netted S$87.5 million in new orders for the quarter - mainly driven by recurring small greenfield projects and brownfield projects - which took the order book to S$182.2 million.

Earnings per share came in at 1.13 Singapore cents, up from 1.11 Singapore cents, while net asset value was 33.87 Singapore cents a share, against 33.65 Singapore cents as at Dec 31, 2018.

The group said in its outlook statement that it expects to chart full-year improvement in its financial showing for 2019, based on an expected rise in activity - “albeit a more stable pricing environment in the markets we serve”.

Group managing director Lim Boon Kheng added: “We are pleased to record an improvement in core profitability for Q1 2019, in spite of the uncertainties posed in the global macroeconomic landscape.

“Our endeavours in growing our geographical footprints and expanding our businesses continue to yield positive results going into the new fiscal year. Moving forward, we strive to deliver sustainable growth through a combination of both organic growth and strategic acquisitions.”

No dividend was recommended, unchanged from the previous year, as CSE’s dividend policy is on a half-yearly basis.

The counter closed at S$0.475, down by one-and-a-half Singapore cents, or 3.06 per cent, before the results were released.