China Property

Socam to cash out China projects

Developer will also pursue construction opportunities in HK's public housing sector

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 March, 2013, 6:31am

Property developer and contractor Socam Development will aggressively cash in its mainland properties and pursue opportunities in Hong Kong's expanded building programme for public housing and infrastructure.

The company announced net profit declined 6.8 per cent to HK$848 million for last year from a year ago. Turnover rose 29 per cent to HK$7.92 billion.

Socam recommended a final dividend of 5 HK cents.

"Our strategy is speeding up our asset turnover. So we will be aggressively selling our properties once we get the right price," said chief executive Philip Wong.

The move would also help streamline business operations, he said. "Investors are confused by our operations as Socam is engaged in mainland property, construction and cement manufacturing. To a certain extent, our property business is overlapping with that of our parent, Shui On Land. To maximise the return of our shareholders, we will cash in our properties when opportunities arise," he said.

The firm plans to exit from the Lafarge Shui On Cement joint venture, to which Lafarge has also agreed.

Last month, Socam entered into an agreement to dispose of its entire interest in the Guangzhou Panyu project, yielding a HK$37 million profit. The firm said the project was acquired in 2011 with plans for serviced apartments plus an office and retail complex with a gross floor area of 108,800 square metres.

After the sale, the company still owns about 2.1 million sqmetres of developable gross floor area in Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Chengdu, Shenyang and Guizhou.

Socam said it had generated contract sales of more than 3.5 billion yuan (HK$4.33 billion) from the sale of its projects in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenyang last year.

Chairman Vincent Lo Hong-sui said: "We will continue to capture the opportunities in construction works from the Hong Kong government's policy to expand the building programme for public housing and infrastructure."

Socam has participated in the public housing sector by building government-subsidised homes through its construction arm since the 1970s.

The stock fell 0.64 per cent to HK$9.36 yesterday.