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China Property

China’s Future Land says debt not affected by party probe of chairman

Shanghai-based developer posts 2.3 per cent gain in full-year core earnings

PUBLISHED : Friday, 05 February, 2016, 9:36am
UPDATED : Friday, 05 February, 2016, 4:25pm

Future Land Development, whose chairman and controlling shareholder Wang Zhenhua has been under investigation on the mainland, says its operations are normal and there have been no debt contract defaults.

At its annual result briefing in Hong Kong on Friday, a result announcement signed by Wang said Shanghai-based developer posted a 2.3 per cent gain in full-year core earnings (before property revaluation) to 723.8 million yuan (HK$858 million) last year.

Total revenue increased by about 15 per cent to 23.83 billion yuan.

Late last month, the company said Wang was being investigated by the Communist Party’s Discipline Inspection Commission in Wujin, Changzhou, for personal reasons. It said the investigation was not related to the company’s operations.

“Business is as usual. Future Land is a company with 20 years’ history, we have very mature management and we have confidence of our operations,” chief executive Lu Xiaoping said.

Executive director Kenny Chan said the Wang issue had not triggered any defaults in loan agreements.

Future Land achieved contracted sales of 31.93 billion yuan last year, up 30.3 per cent year on year, and topping its annual sales target.

The company has raised its sales target for this year to 40 billion yuan.

“We have seen the market continue to run hot in first-tier cities,” Lu said. “Our sales in January hit a new single-month high of 4.3 billion yuan.”

The company has shifted focus from smaller cities to first- and second- tier cities including Shanghai, Suzhou and Nanjing, with the three cities contributing 56 per cent of sales last year.

Future Land’s net debt ratio grew to 84 per cent by the end of last year from 53 per cent in 2014.

Chan said the increase in new debt was due to an increase in land purchases and financing.

“We will spend less on land buying in 2016,” he said.

The company’s total cash in bank and at hand is 7.8 billion yuan, while loans payable in less than a year amounted to 4 billion yuan.

Following recent yuan depreciation, the company posted a 275 million yuan foreign exchange loss due to offshore borrowings.

“We will further reduce our offshore debt or replace current high-yield debt by issuing cheaper ones, ” Chan said.

Directors recommended a final dividend of 0.05 yuan per share, representing a payout ratio of about 39.1 per cent of core earnings.

Futures Land shares finished 6.9 per cent down at 95 HK cents on Friday.

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