Chinese Estates reaps windfall from investments

Developer sees sharp increase in core profit and revenue while property sales plunge

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 March, 2013, 5:30am

Chinese Estates' core earnings last year jumped 1,755 per cent, thanks to a strong rebound in its financial investments.

The property and financial investment company, controlled by Joseph Lau Luen-hung, reported core earnings of HK$3.98 billion, excluding gains of HK$5.82 billion from property revaluation.

Chinese Estates said it made a gain of HK$2.42 billion from investments in securities, against a loss of HK$1.97 billion in 2011. The gain helped increase revenue 361 per cent to HK$2.43 billion.

The company completed only a few small development projects last year, and revenue from property sales plunged 72.2 per cent to HK$949.6 million, while profit from the business slumped 59.9 per cent to HK$357.2 million.

The main contributors to property sales were the i-home project in Tai Kok Tsui and phase one of the Metropolis in Chengdu, Sichuan province.

Chinese Estates expects revenue from property sales to improve this year, as major residential projects will be completed, including One WanChai, the Coronation in West Kowloon and the remaining units of phase two of Splendid City in Chengdu.

The firm recognised a development cost of HK$694.7 million arising from administrative procedures for the Macau government's repossession of development sites for La Scala, a luxury residential project. Lau was charged with corruption in connection with the project. It said it might pursue claims against the Macau government for compensation for losses incurred.

The company proposed a final dividend of 20 HK cents per share, against 1 HK cent a year ago. It had declared a special interim dividend of HK$1 a share in January.

Shares in Chinese Estates rose 0.17 per cent to close at HK$11.56 yesterday.