Contractor Paul Y-ITC Construction Holdings reported a net loss of $797.93 million for the year to March 31, after provisions for investments and properties of $1 billion. This compares with a net profit of $209.53 million in the previous year, which saw provisions of $219.49 million. Turnover rose 13.3 per cent to $11.68 billion from the previous year, while operating profit before exceptional items fell 40.9 per cent to $177.3 million. Deputy chairman Tom Lau Ko-yuen said the fall in value of over $3.5 billion worth of properties the company acquired during the property boom in 1997 had to be reflected in the statements. Exceptional losses arising from declines in property values amounted to $422.26 million. A $271.98 million provision was made to reflect losses on disposal of subsidiaries, of which $150 million came from sale of a 20 per cent stake in Australia-listed contractor Downer Group to Hutchison Whampoa. Mr Lau expected about $150 million in provisions would be made in the current financial year, to reflect the lower price of Paul Y Properties' new shares compared with its net asset value. Renamed as New World Cyberspace, Paul Y Properties has become New World Development's technology arm after its issuance of new shares in exchange for New World Telephone's assets. Conceding the company's property acquisitions in 1997 were done 'too fast', and financed by too much short-term financing, Mr Lau said he was still bullish on the SAR's property market, but would use long-term debt to finance future projects. Mr Lau expected interest expenses this financial year would be lower than last year's $380 million. The company has about $20 billion of uncompleted contracting orders on hand.