Strong home sales, higher rents lift CapitaLand earnings (The Straits Times)

GOOD home sales in Singapore, China and Vietnam, as well as higher rents from shopping malls and serviced residences, helped lift first-quarter earnings at property giant CapitaLand.

Net profit for the three months to March 31 fell 11.8 per cent to $161.3 million in the absence of discontinued operations from an associate as well as a one-off gain from the sale of that associate, which had lifted earnings in the same period last year, it reported yesterday.

It recorded gains from the sale of associate firm Australand in the first quarter of last year.

Net profit from continuing operations was up 9.4 per cent.

Revenue soared 49.4 per cent to $915 million compared with a year ago, owing to higher contributions from residential projects in Singapore and Vietnam, and the consolidation of CapitaLand Township’s revenue once it became a unit of CapitaLand in March.

CapitaLand Singapore sold 69 residential units in the first quarter compared with 34 a year earlier. The sales amounted to $197 million, up from $87 million the previous year.

Revenue from Singapore was derived from higher contributions from Urban Resort Condominium in Grange Road, Sky Habitat and Sky Vue in Bishan and Bedok Residences, said CapitaLand.

The firm added that it recorded higher rental revenue from its shopping mall and serviced residence businesses.

CapitaLand China sold 1,306 units worth 2.2 billion yuan (about $474 million). In terms of sales value, this was an increase of 68 per cent compared with a year ago.

The two core markets of Singapore and China accounted for 78.9 per cent of revenue, up from 69.9 per cent a year ago.

Group chief executive Lim Ming Yan said in a statement: “Despite a challenging market environment, CapitaLand’s well- balanced portfolio of investment properties and residential projects will continue to generate recurring income and trading profits.”

He added that its capital management strategy remains unchanged. It will continue to use funds, joint ventures, listed real estate investment trusts and other platforms.

The firm also said that Ascott, its serviced residence business, will continue to grow fee-based income by securing more management contracts.

Earnings per share was 3.8 cents in the first quarter, down from 4.3 cents the previous year.

Net asset value per share was $4.05 as at March 31, up from $3.94 as at Dec 31.