SINGAPORE (July 19): Keppel Corporation reported a 38% rise in 1H18 earnings to $583 million from $423 million a year ago as stronger contributions from the property and infrastructure divisions which more than offset losses incurred by the offshore & marine (O&M) and investments divisions.

The O&M division incurred a net loss of $40 million for 1H18, compared to a net profit of $11 million a year ago, due mainly to lower operating results, lower share of associated companies’ profits, higher taxes in overseas operations, as well as the absence of gain from divestment of Keppel Verolme in 1H17.

As at end June, the O&M division won new contracts worth over $1.2 billion, higher than the total value of new orders secured in FY17. The division continues to pursue new markets and opportunities in the areas of gas, floating infrastructure and offshore renewables.

Keppel's 1H18 revenue of $2.99 billion was 7% higher than the $2.8 billion for 1H17. O&M and property revenues remained stable year-on-year while infrastructure revenue grew by 23% to $1.2 billion due to better sales in the power and gas businesses, as well as progressive recognition from the Keppel Marina East Desalination Plant project.

For the first six months of 2018, the group achieved an annualised return on equity of 9.9%. Net gearing was 0.40 times as at June 30, compared to 0.46 times as at Dec 31 2017. Free cash inflow improved to $886 million in 1H18 compared to $204 million in 1H17.

For 2Q18, group earnings came in at $246 million, 44% higher than the $171 million for 2Q17, bolstered by stronger property and infrastructure earnings which offset losses from the other divisions. Group revenue of $1.5 billion was slightly lower than the $1.55 billion registered a year ago.

Loh Chin Hua, CEO of Keppel, says, “Keppel continued to deliver strong results in the first half of 2018. Our multi-business strategy and geographical diversification have enabled the Company to remain resilient, despite cyclical headwinds in some of our businesses."

Keppel has declared dividends totaling 15 cents per share for 1H18 which includes a special dividend of 5 cents per share.

Shares in Keppel closed 11 cents higher at $6.96 on Thursday.