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Wing Tai posts lower Q4, full-year earnings

PROPERTY developer Wing Tai Holdings on Thursday reported a 19 per cent drop in net profit to S$115.9 million for its fourth quarter ended June 30, 2015.

Revenue rose 20 per cent to S$215.9 million.

For the full year, net profit fell 41 per cent to S$150.3 million, while revenue fell 16 per cent to S$676.7 million.

This revenue was mainly from the progressive sales recognised from The Tembusu, the additional units sold in Le Nouvel Ardmore, Foresque Residences and Helios Residences in Singapore, and The Lakeview in China.

Earnings fell in line with the lower revenue as well as a lower share of profits of associated and joint-venture companies, which fell 23 per cent to S$119.3 million due to lower contribution from Wing Tai Properties in Hong Kong.

The developer announced an ordinary dividend of three Singapore cents per share and no special dividend.

A year ago, it had paid out a three-cent ordinary dividend per share and a three-cent special dividend per share.

Queried on the absence of a special dividend at the analyst briefing, its chairman Cheng Wai Keung said: "We have a payout rate of about 30-35 per cent each year. This year, in fact we are already paying almost 50 per cent of our profit this year, so I think it's prudent not to pay more than what we have made this year."

Queried by another analyst on the same topic again afterwards, he added: "First of all, I think as in any business, we must find a consistent financial discipline. We cannot just pay out more than what we normally have.

"Secondly, even if we pay three cents, we are giving a dividend yield of 1.6 per cent, given our average price is about S$1.90. We think that it is sufficient, and on top of it. . . The three cents is our normal dividend. In the past, only when we make more money, then we will pay out a special dividend. If we had strictly followed the 35 per cent payout policy, it would have been two cents. But we believed we wanted a consistent dividend payout. So it is a balancing decision. And we think that three cents, given all the considerations, is actually justified."

Wing Tai closed three cents higher at S$1.875 on the stock market on Thursday.