SINGAPORE (Apr 26): Property group Ho Bee Land reported a 12.3% fall in 1Q earnings ended March to $49.4 million, or 7.42 cents per share, from a year ago, due primarily to the gain of $7.4 million on the sale of an investment property in London in 1Q17.
Share of profits from associates which was mainly from the joint venture development project in Shanghai amounted to $28.5 million. Group revenue increased 15% to $48.7 million from $42.4 million in the preceding year. The increase was contributed by higher rental income and sale of a small site in Gold Coast, Australia.
Total shareholders’ fund as at March 31 was $3.19 billion, representing a net asset value of $4.79 per share. Net gearing increased marginally from 0.40 times as at end of last year to 0.42 times.
During the first quarter, the group committed an investment of €40 million ($64.6 million) into a property fund that focuses on key cities in Europe. At the same time, the Group made a further investment commitment of €50 million in a Munich commercial development. The property is centrally located adjacent to the Main Train Station. This will be redeveloped into a Grade A office building of more than 500,000 sf.
In its business outlook, Ho Bee says the Singapore residential market has improved markedly, buoyed by the strong collective sales momentum. The high-end sector has also seen more buying activities. The group will therefore market its apartments in Sentosa Cove for sale this year to take advantage of this upturn.
Chua Thian Poh, Chairman and CEO of the group, says, “The Group has made a strategic decision to invest in Continental Europe. Our initial commitment of €90 million will ride on the improving property market in that region. With this investment, we have further diversified our property portfolio to position the Group for future growth.”
Shares in Ho Bee Land closed 1 cent higher at $2.54 on Thursday.