Conglomerate Wheelock and Co expects property development to be its key profit earner this year, according to managing director John Hung. Speaking at the company's annual meeting, Mr Hung said 71 per cent owned retailer Lane Crawford was still hammering out the exact amount of provisions it would make this year. It announced two weeks ago that it would shut down its loss-making Singapore department store. He said Wheelock would be concentrating on replenishing its land bank in the territory and Singapore. 'In Singapore, this can be done through our associate New Asia Realty and Trust Company which has a strong property portfolio there,' he said. The 43 per cent owned New Asia Realty controls 74.46 per cent of Marco Polo Development, a company bought last year and with a high exposure in Singapore. Chairman Gonzaga Li said more than 210 of the 220 apartments offered in Singapore in July were sold within a week and Wheelock planned to put the remaining 104 units on the market early next year. In the territory, Wheelock plans to offer two new residential projects next year - 2,000 units at Diamond Hill and a gross floor area of 600,000 square feet at Tsuen Wan. Managing director Ray Tse said the San Miguel brewery site at Sham Tseng, Tsuen Wan, which had government approval for developing residential units, was planned to be sold in 1998. 'Properties development will provide the major source of income for Wheelock this year,' Mr Li said. Following last week's deal to resolve the long-running dispute over Container Terminal 9 (CT9), Mr Li said Modern Terminals, a subsidiary of Wheelock associate Wharf (Holdings), was in talks with the Government over the details of operating three berths at CT9. 'We are still discussing land premium and the way to construct the terminal,' Mr Li said. 'So the total investment involved is difficult to predict now.' He said Wheelock was inclined to team up with the other operator, Hutchison Whampoa's Hongkong International Terminals, to build a total of four berths at CT9 rather than on an individual basis. 'This will make construction easier,' Mr Li said. Wheelock's full year attributable profit to March rose 6.6 per cent to $2.45 billion on a turnover of $2.33 billion.