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Metro slips into the red for Q4, posts S$1.9m loss

PROPERTY and retail group Metro Holdings chalked up a fourth quarter net loss of S$1.9 million, a reversal from the net profit of of S$34.2 million a year ago, mainly due to losses in the share of associates, according to unaudited results released on Friday.

For the three months ended March 31, revenue edged up 1.8 per cent to S$34.3 million from S$33.7 million in the preceding year. The gain in revenue was due partly to higher retail sales, Metro said.

However, gross profit fell by 18.5 per cent to S$2.3 million. The group also received S$15.8 million from the sale of a 30 per cent interest in its associate in Nanchang Fashion Mark, as well as a gain of S$3.6 million on disposal of available-for-sale-investments.

But the bottom line was dragged down by the loss of S$24.3 million recorded in the share of results of associates, against a gain of S$20.1 million in the same quarter last year.

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This was mainly because of a decline in the group's share of Top Spring International Holdings results, as it made provision for doubtful debts and impairment for available-for-sale investments, and recorded higher staff costs, Metro said.

For the whole year, revenue went up by 3.9 per cent to S$136 million, and net profit jumped by 93.9 per cent to S$156 million, driven by a divestment gain of S$159 million arising from associate Top Spring disposal of eight property projects.

Full-year earnings per share rose to 18.9 Singapore cents from 9.7 Singapore cents in the preceding year. Net asset value per share edged up to S$1.78 as at March 31, from S$1.63 in a year ago.

The board has recommended a total final payout of five Singapore cents per share, including a special dividend of three cents. This is unchanged from last year.