CapitaLand has reported a net loss of $1.57 billion for FY2020 - its largest ever - as it wrote down some $2.5 billion in value of its investment properties, projects, and equity investments impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak, including Jewel Changi Airport and ION Orchard. 

In contrast, it reported earnings of $2.1 billion in the preceding FY2019.

The last time CapitaLand reported a full-year loss was for FY2001.

The property giant’s operating PATMI for FY2020 was $769.9 million, down 27.2% y-o-y over FY2019. Including divestment gains and realised revaluation gains, cash PATMI for FY 2020 was $924 million. 

Thanks to recovering economies in the second half of FY2020, CapitaLand’s core Singapore and China operations enjoyed a cash PATMI of $653.3 million in 2HFY2020, more than double $270.5 million that of 1HFY2020.

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Revenue for FY2020, meanwhile, rose 4.8% y-o-y to $6.5 billion, lifted by higher handover from the residential projects in China and Vietnam, as well as full-year consolidation of results for Raffles City Chongqing and the Ascendas-Singbridge (ASB) portfolio acquired in June 2019. 

The higher revenue was partially offset by the recognition of rental rebates granted to tenants, as well as lower performance from its shopping malls and lodging businesses amid the pandemic woes.

SEE: Hatten Land to restructure subsidiaries MDSA Resources and MDSA Ventures to fortify business resiliency amid Covid-19

Despite the losses, CapitaLand plans to pay a dividend of nine cents per share, which translates into a payout ratio of 52% of FY2020’s cash PATMI. For FY2019, CapitaLand paid 12 cents per share.

“Despite a challenging 2020, CapitaLand remains operationally profitable and financially strong, which underpin our continuing ability to distribute returns to our shareholders,” says chairman Ng Kee Choe.

Group CEO Lee Chee Koon maintains that Covid-19 has disrupted but will not change the plans for CapitaLand to become a globally competitive asset manager and real estate company. 

“In 2020, we continued to grow our fund management business, deploy capital into new economy asset classes, and took the chance to digitalise and rationalise our existing business,” he says.

“Not only will CapitaLand’s strong balance sheet and cashflow position tide us through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic; more importantly, we will be able to capitalise on new opportunities to further transform our business,” says Lee.

"We were quite confident that the worst was behind us, at least in the various key markets that we operate in. So we decided to step up on our transformation efforts," says Lee at the results briefing earlier today.

CapitaLand closed Feb 23 at $3.12, up 0.65%.