SINGAPORE (July 24): Yoma Strategic Holdings reported a loss of $15.9 million for 1Q19 compared to earnings of $2.8 million a year ago on higher finance expenses, lower other income, as well as greater share of losses of joint ventures and associated companies.

Revenue for the quarter grew 13.9% to $29.4 million from $25.8 million previously, with high contributions across all three of its core land, F&B and financial services businesses, thus helping to offset a slower performance in Yoma’s motors business.

Gross profit margin however fell to 35.1% on year from 40.6% in 1Q18, as the previous year’s real estate development revenue comprised mainly share of profits in StarCity Zone C and Zone B with minimal costs.

Net other income fell 35.4% a year ago to $5.8 million from $8.9 million previously on the back of currency translation losses of $1.3 million, as compared to gains of $0.2 million in 1Q18.

Share of losses of associated companies and joint ventures amounted to $3.2 million, primarily attributed to losses incurred by Memories Group and Access Myanmar Distribution Company.

Administrative expenses grew by 37.6% to $17 million compared to $12.3 million a year ago, mainly due to a higher number of KFC stores and New Holland, JCB branches, as well as expenses incurred for the Yoma Central project.

Finance expenses grew eightfold to $15.6 million compared to just $1.9 million a year ago, due to currency translation losses -- a result of the strengthening USD against the SGD and Kyat -- and interest expenses on borrowings on the back of rising interest rates.

Going forward, the group expects its real estate revenue to continue its improvement in the coming year, with the residual revenue recognition from sold units at StarCity Galaxy Towers Two and Four complemented by full recognition from additional sales.

It also says sales at The Peninsula Residences Yangon has been encouraging, with seven units sold recently in 1Q19 and another three units sold in July this year.

“We remain optimistic with the business prospects ahead and believe Yoma Strategic is well-positioned for long-term growth, in tandem with the wider positive economic developments in the country,” says executive chairman Serge Pun.

Shares in Yoma closed 1.2% higher at 42 cents on Monday.