Jardine Strategic's 25 per cent-owned affiliate Cycle & Carriage has seen profits collapse after write-downs of S$357 million (HK$1.6 billion) on Singapore and Malaysian property developments last year. A gain of S$30.2 million resulted in profit of $3.5 million after a $158.8 million profit in 1997. It made an exceptional charge of $133.7 million for losses on property ventures. A pretax charge of $223.9 million was taken by listed property subsidiary MCL Land, where net profit excluding exceptional items, fell to $35.4 million from $39.5 million in 1997. Singapore-listed Cycle & Carriage's core vehicle sales operations also fared badly due to the financial crisis. Earnings from motor operations were $21.2 million, down 77 per cent. One bright spot was a $30.2 million extraordinary profit from the restructuring of the group's interests in Cold Storage (Malaysia) supermarkets last year. The group's directors have warned this year will be another difficult one, but hope profit will improve. A Cycle & Carriage spokesman said the directors believed the group's overall results for this year would be 'better' than last year. 'The economic downturn in most of the group's major markets is likely to continue to have an adverse impact on performance in 1999,' he said. In Singapore, where Cycle & Carriage distributes Mercedes-Benz, the firm expects improved sales this year but has warned weak consumer sentiment and strong competition will continue to pressure margins. It has also projected higher car sales in Malaysia and Australia.