SINGAPORE (Aug 14): Uni-Asia Group reported earnings increased 52% to US$3.0 million ($4.2 million) in 2Q19 from US$2.0 million in 2Q18.

This brings 1H19 earnings to US$6.4 million, 26% higher than US$5.1 million in 1H18.

Total income for the quarter was 23% higher at US$35.8 million from US$29.1 million a year ago, mainly due to higher contribution from fee income, hotel income, investment returns and interest income, but partially offset by lower contribution from charter income and other income.

Total operating expenses increased by 23% to US$30.1 million, bringing operating profit to US$5.7 million, 25% higher than US$4.5 million last year.

During the quarter, the group recorded lease interest of US$1.2 million, which was absent in the previous year, due to the adoption of new IFRS16.

As at end June, the group’s cash and bank balances stood at US$48.4 million.

Uni-Asia’s board has recommended an interim dividend of 2 cents per share, which will be payable on Sept 27.

On the outlook, for the dry bulk sector, the group believes that the recent increase in Baltic Handysize Index could be positive for some of the group’s vessels which are on short term index-linked charter.

As for Hong Kong properties, the group thinks that it is still too early to conclude that the ongoing anti-extradition bill protests would adversely affect the property market in the long run.

In Japan, the residential property in Tokyo remains robust and the group is monitoring the Tokyo residential market carefully and selecting its investment sites for its Alero projects. It is also exploring various property asset management opportunities in Japan to expand new income source.

With the Rugby World Cup and Tokyo 2020 coming up in Japan, the group is positive about its hotel operation in Japan. It will be opening one more hotel in December 2019 in Fukuoka and four more hotels in 2020. The group is working to capitalise on Hotel Vista brand name and good service standards to deliver good returns from hotel operations.

Shares in Uni-Asia closed 1.39% higher at 73 cents on Wednesday.