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Stocks to watch: UOB, Great Eastern, Frasers Property, SembMarine, OUE H-Trust, Hi-P
THE following companies saw new developments that may affect trading of their shares on Friday:
United Overseas Bank (UOB): UOB reported higher net profit for its first quarter of 2019, up 8 per cent to S$1.05 billion, from S$978 million for the year-ago period. Earnings per share (EPS) was S$2.47 for the three months ended March 31, versus S$2.28 for the year-ago period. UOB shares closed up 0.07 per cent, or two Singapore cents, at S$27.85 on Thursday. No dividend has been declared for the quarter, the bank reported on Friday morning, prior to the start of trading. Total income was up 8 per cent to S$2.41 billion from S$2.23 billion previously, led by a recovery in trading and investment income, and healthy loan growth as macro conditions stabilised and financial markets rebounded.
Great Eastern: Great Eastern’s net profit for the first quarter more than doubled to S$342.7 million, from S$152.9 million a year ago, on the back of higher valuations of its investments resulting from favourable market conditions. The group also saw a rise in EPS to 72 Singapore cents, from 32 cents a year ago, the insurer said on Friday in a regulatory filing. No interim dividend has been declared for the quarter, unchanged from a year ago. Shares of the company closed flat at S$25.95 on Thursday.
Frasers Property: Frasers Property’s net profit rose 8.3 per cent from a year ago to S$120.4 million for its second quarter ended March 31, mainly supported by the timing of sales and settlements of development projects in Australia, it said on Friday morning before the market opened. The group said it benefited from the first full half-year contribution from its business park portfolio in the UK, as well as contributions from Frasers Tower and the south wing of Northpoint City in Singapore. It also recognised profits from residential developments after project completions and settlements, mainly from Australia and China. Frasers Property shares closed at S$1.85 on Thursday, down one Singapore cent.
Sembcorp Marine (SembMarine): Lower overall business volume which hit the absorption of overhead costs dragged down SembMarine's results for the first quarter ended March 31. The offshore-and-marine company on Friday posted a 67.8 per cent fall in Q1 net profit to S$1.7 million, from a S$5.3 million profit in the prior year on the lower turnover, which was partially offset by margin recognition from newly secured production floater projects and delivery of rig. On a per share basis, earnings came in at 0.08 Singapore cent for the three-month period, down from 0.25 Singapore cent last year. No dividend has been recommended. SembMarine closed at S$1.69 on Thursday, down 1.2 per cent or two Singapore cents.
OUE Hospitality Trust (OUE H-Trust): OUE H-Trust will pay out 1.18 Singapore cents in distribution per stapled security (DPS) for the first quarter, down 6.3 per cent on the year before. Net property income was down by 2.2 per cent to S$27.7 million for the three months to March 31, the manager reported in unaudited financial statements on Thursday. Gross revenue declined by 3 per cent to S$31.7 million, dragged down by lower master lease income from Mandarin Orchard Singapore, which was thrust into the spotlight in late-2018 when a string of severe food poisoning incidents forced the hotel's main ballroom to close. OUE H-Trust closed at S$0.72 on Thursday, up half a cent or 0.7 per cent, before the results were announced.
Hi-P International: Mainboard-listed contract manufacturer Hi-P's gross profit took a hit from pricing pressures and product mix, according to first-quarter results released on Thursday. Gross profit came in 4.3 per cent lower for the three months to March 31, which was attributed to both price pressures, and a turn to lower-margin products compared with the same period the year prior. Still, Hi-P clocked growth on a sharp drop in forex-related expenses, with net profit picking up 5.8 per cent year on year to S$10.7 million. Meanwhile, revenue increased by 2 per cent to S$286.8 million, which the company said was "despite challenging market conditions". EPS rose to 1.33 Singapore cents from 1.25 Singapore cents before. No dividend was recommended for the quarter, unchanged from the year prior, which the group said was "to conserve cash for business growth". Hi-P shed S$0.03 or 2.06 per cent to S$1.43 on Thursday before the results were announced.
Trading halt: Precision engineering company Allied Technologies on Friday morning requested a trading halt, pending the release of announcements. Earlier this week, the Catalist-listed firm said it has received a letter of intent for the proposed acquisition of "one of the largest dormitory operators in Singapore" for S$130 million that could result in a reverse takeover.