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Haw Par Q1 profit up 10.6% on healthcare growth

HAW Par Corp's first-quarter net profit rose 10.6 per cent to S$13.5 million as a vigorous healthcare business overcame weakness in leisure and property, the conglomerate announced on Thursday.

Haw Par's per-share net profit was 6.1 Singapore cents for the three months ended March. The stock closed at S$9.33 on Thursday, up by 0.5 per cent or five Singapore cents, before the results were announced.

Revenue rose 18.6 per cent to S$45.6 million as healthcare turnover increased by 29 per cent to S$38.6 million with stronger sales in key markets, said the maker of Tiger Balm branded products. Raw material costs eased and exchange rates shifted favourably, improving margins sufficiently to help lift healthcare operating profit by 53.4 per cent to S$13.5 million.

But sales from the leisure arm, which operates Underwater World Singapore and Pattaya, fell 28.5 per cent on lower visitorship to both attractions. The segment incurred a loss of S$143,00 during the quarter.

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Property revenue was also down by 7.6 per cent because of lower occupancy rates. Property profit was S$3 million, lower by 8.7 per cent year-on-year.

The company painted a mixed outlook for the next 12 months.

"Improving standards of living, particularly in Asia, and growth in tourist traffic globally will continue to benefit healthcare, albeit in an even more challenging environment," the company stated. "Leisure could be further affected by the overall weakness in the Singapore and Pattaya tourism sectors and competition from newer attractions."