Subsidiary powers Lai Sun Garment

LAI Sun Garment (International) has reported mixed results for the half-year ended January 31 in spite of a massive jump in profits at subsidiary Lai Sun Development.

A 221 per cent leap in attributable profits at 51.5 per cent-owned Lai Sun Development to $625.57 million from $194.88 million helped to power earnings growth at the parent.

But Lai Sun Garment's profits were held back by slack demand and rising costs in its core business.

Its profits rose 41.4 per cent to $503.35 million, compared with $356.06 million previously.

Profits at Crocodile Garments, the retailing and garment-making firm 54.93 per cent-owned by Lai Sun Garment, slumped 15.9 per cent.

Soaring rents and wages combined with fierce competition sent turnover lower.


Crocodile reported net profits of $37.50 million from $44.61 million previously.

Turnover dropped from $448.78 million for the first six months of fiscal 1993 to $447.10 million.

Lai Sun's other main company, Glynhill International, which bought the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, failed to stage a comeback from its loss-making position in the first half of fiscal 1993.

Glynhill, a 54.09 per cent subsidiary of Lai Sun Development, lost $17.58 million compared with $17.28 million previously.


Turnover at the parent was $2.81 billion against $1.67 billion previously, representing a jump of 68.1 per cent.

Earnings per share were $1.97 against $1.39 previously. An interim dividend of 35 cents was declared.


An exceptional item of $4 million represented the difference between a $42.85 million profit on the disposal of a subsidiary and a charge of $38.85 million taken as the cost of Lai Sun Development's US$150 million convertible bond issue.

The company said profits at the garment operation suffered a ''modest drop'', with orders remaining flat compared with the previous first half.

''Looking ahead, orders received for the second half of the 1993-94 fiscal year have been quite encouraging,'' said chairman and managing director Lim Por Yen.


''But operating margins on profits will be under further pressure as a result of the recent tremendous rise in price of cotton due to poor output in growing areas,'' he said.

The operating margin was 32.5 per cent compared with 26 per cent in the previous period.

Turnover at Lai Sun Development was up by 145.87 per cent to $1.94 billion while operating profit soared to $810.04 million from $280.55 million, a 188.73 per cent jump.


Mr Lim said the strong performance at Lai Sun Development was in line with expectations and came mainly from sales of property, ''particularly on completion of the 37 Repulse Bay Road project''.

High occupancy rates coupled with rent increases ''will ensure steady growth in the recurrent income'', Mr Lim said.

After deducting the costs of the bond issue, adding shares of profits at associates of $31.88 million and deducting tax and minorities, profit attributable to shareholders was $692.66 million.

A further deduction of $67.07 million was made for dividends to preference shareholders. Some 75 per cent of preference shares are owned by Lai Sun Garment.

Earnings per share were 25.5 cents compared with 11.1 cents. On a fully diluted basis, it is eroded to 15.3 cents a share, due to the presence of warrants. A dividend of three cents a share was declared from two cents previously.

At Lai Sun Development's 54.09 per cent subsidiary, Glynhill International, losses increased marginally to $17.58 million, equivalent to 1.92 cents a share from 1.89 cents for the previous period.

While Glynhill made an operating loss of $6.23 million, more damage was done by losses at associates and in an exceptional item of $5.25 million.

The exceptional item was a result of foreign exchange losses, according to a company statement.

A year ago, the company did not declare a dividend. It said in spite of a slow recovery in the hotel business during the first half of the financial year, it ''remained optimistic that the latter part of 1994 would show significant improvement.''