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Ho Bee posts 20.9% drop in Q4 profit, but full-year profit up 15%

HO Bee Land reported a 20.9 per cent drop in net profit for the fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2017 to S$102.44 million, as revenue from development projects fell due to project completions in Australia in 2016.

Given a steep 46.9 per cent fall in sales of development projects to S$3.46 million, group revenue fell 3.1 per cent to S$41.17 million. Rental income, however, improved by 4.9 per cent to S$37.7 million.

For the full-year, Ho Bee's net profit grew 15 per cent to S$249.26 million, buoyed by a surge in share of profits from associates.

That 235 per cent surge in the share of profits from associates to S$99.3 million came mainly from a Shanghai joint venture project.

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Ho Bee's group revenue for the full year also marked a 45 per cent drop to S$164.7 million as it recorded higher sales recognition in fiscal 2016 for the two wholly-owned residential development projects in Melbourne and Gold Coast, which were completed in the first half of 2016.

Group chairman and CEO Chua Thian Poh said the group's stronger performance for fiscal 2017 was "buttressed by the recurring income from the Singapore and UK portfolio of investment properties".

In Singapore, there has been renewed interest in apartments in Sentosa Cove, with prices stabilising and demand improving, Mr Chua said.

"We will therefore be exploring the sale of our projects in Sentosa Cove to capitalise on the improved market sentiment," said Mr Chua.

Ho Bee still has some 103 unsold units at Seascape and 48 unsold units at Turquoise, of which it has rented out about 80 per cent.

As for the yet-to-be launched 302-unit Cape Royale, over 200 units have been leased.

The board is proposing a first and final dividend of eight cents per share, plus a special dividend of two cents per share. This is higher than a year ago, when it declared a first and final dividend of six cents per share.