SINGAPORE (Feb 26): Real estate agency PropNex saw its earnings fall 57.7% to $1.8 million for the 4Q18 ended December, from $4.3 million a year ago.

This bring full-year earnings for FY18 to a record $19.4 million, some 19.3% higher than a year ago.

Excluding a one-off initial public offering (IPO) expenses of $1.1 million in FY18, the group would have registered earnings of $23.1 million for the full year, representing an increase of 22.0% from FY17.

4Q18 revenue fell 16.4% to $83.0 million, from $99.3 million a year ago.

The decline was mainly due to the decrease in commission income from project marketing services as a result of the introduction of additional property cooling measures in July 2018.

Despite the slower demand in the second half, revenue rose 30.0% to $431.5 million in FY18.

Staff costs jumped 61.7% during the latest quarter to $4.6 million, compared to $2.8 million a year ago.

This was mainly due an increase in salary as well as an increase in the average staff headcount in 4Q18.

Earnings per share (EPS) fell to 0.49 cents in 4Q18, from 1.41 cents a year ago.

Net asset value (NAV) per share trebled to 18.07 cents as at Dec 31, 2018, compared to 5.89 cents a year ago.

As at end December, cash and cash equivalents stood at $75.6 million, compared to $27.6 million a year ago. This increase was largely due to net proceeds of $38.3 million from the IPO.

The board has proposed a final dividend of 1.5 cents per share and a special dividend of 2.0 cents per share.

“In 2018 we achieved record revenue and earnings despite cooling measures being implemented in the second half of the year. For the year, PropNex delivered double-digit revenue growth and also achieved the highest earnings in the firm’s history,” says Ismail Gafoor, co-founder, executive chairman and CEO of PropNex.

“With the opportunities ahead, PropNex will continue to make focused investments in talent and infrastructure needed to bring exceptional experiences to our customers,” he adds. “We remain committed to sharpening our focus on growth and efficiency, and to further build on the strengths of the PropNex brand and reputation in the marketplace.”

Looking ahead, the group says it expects the demand for private residential market in 2019 to be similar to 2018, driven by demand from en bloc owners who have collected their proceeds and in the continued search for replacement homes.

According to the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA), PropNex is the largest listed real estate agency in Singapore. Its number of sales agents rose12.4% since the start of the year to over 7,500 as at Feb 24, 2019.

As at 12.45pm, shares in PropNex are trading half a cent higher at 56 cents.