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Jardine Strategic's 2017 earnings jump 50% to US$4.12 billion on higher property valuations and other non-trading gains

FULL-YEAR earnings swelled at Jardine Strategic Holdings for the 12 months to Dec 31, 2017 - fuelled by increases in property valuations and other net non-trading gains.

Net profit rose by 50 per cent on the previous year, to US$4.12 billion.

Jardine Strategic's revenue for the year grew by 7 per cent to US$31.56 billion.

Gross revenue, counting turnover from associates, joint ventures and Jardine Matheson Holdings - which holds an 84 per cent interest in Jardine Strategic - stood 16 per cent higher at US$83.81 billion.

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The higher profits came on the back of stronger property valuation gains, especially at Hongkong Land's investment properties in Hong Kong, as well as other net non-trading gains.

Excluding such contributions, underlying net profit was 11 per cent higher, at US$1.6 billion.

Earnings per share was US$7.12, against US$4.67 the year before.

Chairman Henry Keswick said in the results announcement: "The group's key markets in greater China and South-east Asia look well placed for 2018 as the good levels of economic growth seen in 2017 appear set to continue."

Contributions from mainland China made up 15 per cent of profits, the announcement noted.

Sir Henry added: "This, when coupled with the development initiatives that are being pursued across the group's businesses, provides the basis for future profit growth."

New investments in 2017 included a 28 per cent shareholding in China's Greatview Aseptic Packaging, as well as a 10 per cent stake in Vietnamese dairy producer Vinamilk through the Jardine Cycle & Carriage unit.

"The group's new investments in Greatview and Vinamilk are in line with the strategy of taking stakes in leading companies that are benefiting from the opportunities offered by the economic development of the region and the growth of the middle classes," Sir Henry said.

"Investments are being made in strong companies with first-class management teams that can accelerate the group's exposure to fast-growing markets."

The board has proposed a final dividend of 22.5 US cents a share, up from 21 US cents a share previously. This would take the full year's payout to 32 US cents a share.

Incorporated in Bermuda, Jardine Strategic is a holding company in the Jardine Matheson Group, with interests in the group's other companies, such as developer Hongkong Land, automotive firm Jardine Cycle & Carriage, and Dairy Farm, which operates the Cold Storage and 7-Eleven chains in Singapore.

It has a standard listing on the London Stock Exchange, with secondary listings in Bermuda and Singapore.

Jardine Strategic closed up by US$0.70, or 1.81 per cent, at US$39.30, before the announcement.

Jardine Matheson finished higher by US$0.80, or 1.29 per cent, at US$62.80.