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Ho Bee Land Q4 net profit more than triples to S$267.6m

HO Bee Land's net profit for the fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2019 rose more than three times to S$267.6 million from S$81.4 million a year ago, the property firm reported on Friday.

The results came on the back of fair-value gains on investment properties amounting to S$243.7 million, versus fair-value gains of S$93 million in the last quarter of the previous year. The gains are largely attributable to the group's two largest investment properties in value: the Metropolis in Buona Vista, Singapore, and Ropemaker Place in London.

Revenue inched up 3.6 per cent to S$54.3 million from S$52.5 million in Q4 2018, and earnings per share were 40.23 Singapore cents versus 12.24 cents in the previous year.

For the full year, net profit rose 23.1 per cent to S$332.3 million from S$270 million in FY2018, boosted by the fair-value gains in Q4.

They were partially offset by a 90.3 per cent dive in the group's share of profits from associates, which fell to S$10.5 million from S$108.5 million a year ago. This was primarily due to a lower number of residential units in its Shanghai and Zhuhai development projects being handed over to buyers this year.

Revenue climbed 7.9 per cent to S$212.4 million from S$196.8 million, largely on higher net rental income from the Metropolis and Ropemaker Place. Earnings per share were 49.95 cents, up from 40.58 cents a year ago.

The board has recommended a first and final dividend of eight cents and a special dividend of two cents, for an aggregate dividend of 10 cents per share for the year. In FY2018, Ho Bee Land paid out dividends of 10 cents per share as well.

"Despite the weak global economic outlook, and the ongoing trade and geopolitical tensions in FY2019, the group's properties enjoyed positive rental reversions and high occupancy in both Singapore and the UK," said chairman and CEO Chua Thian Poh.

"We will continue to look for good investment and development opportunities in key gateway cities with strong economic fundamentals," he added.

The group said that it will stay vigilant to deal with challenges arising from the Covid-19 outbreak and uncertainties surrounding the final stages of Brexit.

Ho Bee Land shares closed at S$2.25 on Friday, down four cents or 1.75 per cent before the results were announced.