SINGAPORE (May 9): Centurion Corporation reported earnings of $10.7 million for the 1Q ended March, 15% up from the $9.4 million of earnings posted a year ago on higher revenue.

Centurion owns and operates workers and student accommodation assets as well as a storage disc manufacturing business.

Excluding the one-off items in the form of dual listing expenses, the group’s profit from core business operations attributable to equity holders of the company recorded a growth of 33% to $12.4 million from $9.4 million in 1Q16.

Group revenue for the quarter was $36 million, up 26% from $28.7 million in the previous year.

This was largely attributed to the improved performance of the group’s workers accommodation assets in Singapore, particularly the newer workers accommodation assets such as Westlite Woodlands and ASPRI-Westlite Papan.

During the quarter Westlite Woodlands achieved close to full occupancy, while ASPRI-Westlite Papan achieved an average occupancy rate of approximately 89%.

In its Tuesday filing to the SGX, Centurion says its three other workers accommodation assets in Singapore continued to perform well in 1Q 2017, and maintained a stable and consistently high average occupancy rates of over 95%.

The group also recorded a marginal improvement for revenue from its workers accommodation in Malaysia, following the gradual relaxation of the hiring freeze imposed on foreign workers in the manufacturing sector last year.

Excluding Westlite Desa Cemerlang, which the group decided to cease operations of due to the declining demand, the average occupancy rate for the group’s six remaining workers accommodation assets in Malaysia was 74% in 1Q17.

Revenue from the Centurion’s student accommodation business grew $1 million on-year to contribute $9.1 million to the total group revenue for the quarter.

The growth was largely attributed to the four newly-acquired student accommodation assets in the United Kingdom, which are collectively known as UK Braemar, as well as additional revenue which arose from the improvement in rental rates.

In line with the higher revenue, gross profit grew 24% to $4.6 million.

Finance costs came in $0.6 million lower due to the full redemption of the Multicurrency Medium Term Notes (MTN) Series 1 of $100 million in Oct2016.

This was however offset by the additional interest costs for financing the expanded accommodation businesses, particularly ASPRI-Westlite Papan and UK Braemar.

Looking ahead, Centurion says it remains cautiously optimistic of its workers accommodation business to improve, together with the recovery of Singapore’s economy and Malaysia’s manufacturing sector.

Noting strong demand and high occupancy rates across its student accommodation assets in the current academic year, the group says it maintains a positive outlook, and will aim to grow its presence further in such a resilient market segment.

Shares of Centurion closed 1.2% higher at 44 cents on Tuesday.