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ST Engineering's full-year profit up 6%; proposes final dividend of 10 S cents per share

ST Engineering has announced a 6 per cent increase in profit for fiscal 2017 on the back of increased growth across its sectors, while revenue remained relatively flat.

Profit attributable to shareholders rose to S$511.9 million, compared to S$484.5 million for fiscal 2016.

A strong order book helped propel profits higher across its sectors, except for marine, which posted a fall of 60 per cent in net profit to S$27 million.

ST Engineering's marine sector posted revenue of S$637 million, which was down 24 per cent year on year from S$841 million. Its profit before taxes (PBT) similarly took a hit, which came in at S$22.4 million, a fall of 70 per cent from S$75.1 million a year ago, mainly due to still-weak industry conditions and US operations, the company said.

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The group said that its land systems division was boosted by a positive impact of S$20 million from the US tax reform.

The increased profit translated into higher earnings per share of 16.43 Singapore cents for the year, an increase of 5 per cent from the previous year.

Net asset value per share was 71.89 Singapore cents, up from the previous year.

Group revenue decreased by 1 per cent to S$6.62 billion from a year ago.

The contribution by business sector to the group's revenue for the year was 38 per cent from aerospace, 32 per cent from electronics, 19 per cent from land systems and 10 per cent from the marine sector, with the remaining coming under "others".

Comparing the fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2017 with the year-ago period, however, the group posted a drop of 6 per cent in revenue to S$1.70 billion, with net profit remaining flat at S$168.5 million.

ST Engineering is proposing a final dividend of 10 Singapore cents per share, to be paid on May 8, 2018.

Chief executive Vincent Chong said during the group's earnings briefing that ST Engineering will "strengthen its core businesses" in 2018, and was looking to enter the health and medical technology sector this year.

He also said that from June this year, the group's ST Aerospace, Electronics, Kinetics and Marine brands will be phased out in favour of unifying the company under the ST Engineering brand.

The group said that it has a "strong order book" of S$13.2 billion for 2018, and performance is expected to strengthen over the next few years, with growth expected to come from its A330 and A320 passenger-to-freighter conversion programmes, as well as smart city offerings from its electronics and land systems sectors in Singapore and overseas.

ST Engineering's counter was trading at S$3.40 apiece as at 2.48pm, up two Singapore cents or 0.59 per cent.