Hopewell seeks new investment options even as profit dips 31pc

PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 February, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 25 February, 2011, 12:00am

Hopewell Holdings said yesterday that net profits had dropped 31 per cent year on year for the interim period to December 31, the result of a large one-time gain the year before, and that it was seeking new investment opportunities in the property, infrastructure, hotel and hospitality sectors.

'As the company makes efforts to expedite the property and toll road projects it is currently developing, it will continue to identify and evaluate new investment opportunities,' Hopewell said.

Net profit fell 31 per cent to HK$1.73 billion during the six months to December. The decline was attributable to the high base effect from the comparable period a year ago, when the company posted a HK$1.7 billion one-time gain from the completion of its Broadwood Twelve flats development. Excluding this gain, earnings before interest and tax (Ebit) rose 14 per cent to HK$776 million.

Revenue soared 56 per cent to HK$3.22 billion. This was partly driven by sales at Broadwood Twelve in Happy Valley, and Hopewell New Town, a property project in Guangzhou, as well as increased revenue from its power plant in Heyuan city in Guangdong province. Another driver of Hopewell's turnover growth was increased revenue from the Guangzhou-Shenzhen (GS) Superhighway and Phase I West, two expressways in Guangdong operated by Hopewell Highway Infrastructure (HHI), Hopewell's Hong Kong-listed infrastructure subsidiary.

'Hopewell Holdings will continue to strengthen its recurrent income stream through development of our property, infrastructure, hotel and hospitality businesses,' said Hopewell managing director Thomas Jefferson Wu.

As of February 21, 23 units or 30 per cent of Broadwood Twelve had been sold. Hopewell Centre II, with a planned total investment of HK$5 billion, is targeted to start construction at the end of this year and be completed in 2016.

As of the end of last year, Hopewell had HK$1.34 billion in net cash after debt, 65 per cent more than the previous year. The firm has HK$12.85 billion of available banking credit facilities as of the end of last year, which it says is sufficient for its future development and investment plans.

As for HHI, its net profit dipped 3 per cent to HK$491 million in the six months to December 31, while revenue rose 17 per cent to HK$1.12 billion. The profit drop was due to a rise in the tax rate for the GS Superhighway and a loss incurred by the Phase II West expressway in the western Pearl River Delta.

Hopewell will pay an interim dividend of 45 HK cents per share, while HHI will pay in interim dividend of 16 HK cents per share.