China Everbright said yesterday earnings for last year were nearly unchanged from a year earlier as buoyant Hong Kong operations helped offset lower contributions from its brokerage and direct-investment divisions.
The state-owned financial services conglomerate posted net profit for the year ended December 31 of HK$1.92 billion, down 0.23 per cent from 2010.
'The global and domestic economies were highly complex and challenging in 2011,' said chairman Tang Shuangning. 'Nevertheless, Everbright faced these challenges and seized the opportunity to progressively solidify our cross-border asset management platform during the year.'
Everbright Securities, the group's brokerage unit, contributed HK$640 million to the earnings of the Hong Kong-listed parent, down 24 per cent year on year.
Mainland brokerages fell victim last year to a sharp decline in share dealing which reduced brokerage fees.
Everbright said its direct investment division that focuses on unlisted firms generated pre-tax profit of HK$700 million last year, down 48 per cent from 2010. Its Hong Kong operations posted pre-tax earnings of HK$1.41 billion, up 5 per cent.
The group said it would maintain a strategy of 'progressing with prudence' this year. Its banking subsidiary, China Everbright Bank, had obtained all necessary approvals, it added, and planned to raise 'several billion' dollars through a Hong Kong initial public offering to replenish capital.
The bank attempted a dual listing in Shanghai and Hong Kong in 2010 but was forced to go public first in Shanghai while holding back in Hong Kong owing to the weak market.
Everbright proposed a cash dividend of 30 HK cents per share on top of a 15 HK cent interim dividend.