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Low Keng Huat Q4 profit spikes on recent projects

Low Keng Huat (Singapore) recognised two completed projects to give its fourth-quarter net profit a sharp spike despite declines in every other business segment, the builder and developer announced on Friday evening.

Net profit in the three months ended March rose to S$61.4 million, or 8.31 Singapore cents, from a year-ago S$6.7 million. For the full fiscal year, net profit tripled to S$144.9 million, or 19.62 Singapore cents per share.

The company is declaring a first and final dividend of 3 Singapore cents per share, as well as a special dividend of another 2 Singapore cents per share, raising its full-year pay-out to 5 Singapore cents per share.

Shares of Low Keng Huat closed at 77 Singapore cents, up by 0.7 per cent of half a cent, on Friday before the results were announced.

Low Keng Huat's develop, build and sell scheme project, Parkland Residences, and its Paya Lebar Square retail and commercial building were completed during the year, contributing $1.1 billion of revenue in fiscal 2015 that was absent in fiscal 2014.

That helped to offset losses in other business segments.

Construction pre-tax loss grew to S$9.4 million in the fourth quarter, compared to a S$2.1 million loss a year earlier as the company wrote back S$11 million of project costs for completed projects in the previous year and incurred S$2.5 million more in employee-related costs.

The hotel and food-and-beverage businesses fell into a S$0.4 million pre-tax loss from a year-ago profit of S$1 million, on a combination of weaknesses in Perth and Saigon, and closure of food and beverage outlets.

Investments, mostly in properties and shares, saw pre-tax profit decline by about a quarter to S$1.7 million during the year.

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