Power projects drive 27pc profit surge at CKI
Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings (CKI), the infrastructure and energy flagship of Cheung Kong (Holdings), said first-half net profit leapt 27 per cent to HK$2.01 billion, driven by higher contributions from power projects in Hong Kong and the mainland.
CKI booked HK$1.02 billion in profit from associate Hongkong Electric Holdings, an electricity supplier to Hong Kong and Lamma islands, up 7 per cent from a year earlier.
Profit from its mainland operations jumped 23.4 per cent to HK$464 million, spurred by earnings of HK$360 million at its 2,600-megawatt Zhuhai power plant amid power shortages in Guangdong province.
CKI deputy chairman Edmond Ip Tak-chuen declined to give comparative figures for the Zhuhai plant, but said its two new units, each with a capacity of 600 megawatts, generated a combined HK$67 million profit during the four-month period since they were commissioned in February.
Chairman Victor Li Tzar-kuoi said the firm may add two more generating units at the plant, bringing the total to six.
The group's profit from its Australian energy and toll tunnel units surged 143.82 per cent to HK$434 million, including a HK$79 million one-off gain from the sale of a 21 per cent stake in Lane Cove tunnel in Sydney.
However, weak gas sales in Britain dragged its earnings in that country down 27.43 per cent to HK$164 million.
With HK$11 billion in cash, CKI has an opportunity to pursue new deals in infrastructure, energy and utilities sectors around the world, Mr Li said.
'The turmoil brought about by the Unites States' subprime lending problem will weed out some aggressive buyers such as private equity funds, which chase acquisitions,' he said. 'We have looked into so many investment opportunities but were outbid by rivals. Under the current situation, we may have a better chance.'
The company's interim dividend was raised 8 per cent to 27 HK cents per share, compared with a 28.57 per cent jump in earnings per share to 90 HK cents. Its shares fell 60 HK cents, or 2.41 per cent, to HK$24.30 yesterday after the results announcement.