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Uni-Asia H1 bottomline swells to US$4.8m

INCREASES in charter income, hotel income, and investment returns lifted results for Uni-Asia Group Ltd in its first half, it said in a Singapore Exchange (SGX) filing on Monday evening.

The group, which is an alternative investment company and integrated service provider of vessels and properties, said H1 net profits attributable to the owners rose 20-fold to US$4.8 million from US$235,000 in the previous year.

For the six months ended June 30, the group's revenue increased 15.9 per cent to US$48.1 million from the year before period.

The group said its H1 charter income increased by 9 per cent to US$18 million from US$16.6 million in the year before, due to a better spot charter rates for the group's portfolio of ships under short-term charter, and charter income from the vessel under Joule Asset Management Pte Ltd which contributed to the group's charter income for both quarters in H1 2017, while only for the second quarter in H1 2016.

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Its fee income rose 19 per cent to US$3.9 million from US$3.2 million in the year before, due to more deals done for the group's fee income business.

The group's hotel income rose 17 per cent to US$21 million from US$18 million, attributable to the opening of its tenth hotel in Q2 2016 which contributed to hotel income for only one quarter in H1 2016 but for both quarters in H1 2017.

Investment returns for H1 2017 was US$4.4 million compared to US$1.6 million the year before. The group recorded a fair value gain of US$2.1 million for its second Hong Kong commercial office property investment in Q2 2017.

In the SGX filing, the group said that after years of downturn in the shipping market, some segments - like dry bulk carriers - were starting to show signs of recovery this year. There was a spike in vessel scrapping rates which eased overcapacity, and shipping demand and charter rates stabilised supported by higher volumes of iron ore transportation and other international trade.

The group said it remained "cautiously optimistic" about the overall environment of the commodities market.

It also added that its property and hotel businesses remain robust in their respective geographic markets. Construction for the group's second Hong Kong commercial office property investment is on schedule and the pre-sale of office units had been "encouraging", it said.

The group expects to exit this investment in early 2018, and would receive proceeds from this investment, it said.

Earnings per share rose to 10.25 US cents from 0.5 US cents in the previous year. Net asset value per share edged up to US$2.79 as at June 30, from US$2.68 in six months ago.

The group completed a restructuring exercise on May 26, and is listed on the mainboard of SGX-ST.

No dividend was declared for the second quarter ended June 30.

Uni-Asia shares closed 0.5 Singapore cent or 0.37 per cent higher at S$1.355 on Monday.