Hong Kong company reporting season

Wheelock eyes HNA’s last Kai Tak plot even as it posts a 1.5pc rise in 2017 core profit

Buoyed by the demand for its Malibu project in Lohas Park, Wheelock raises prices of new batch of flats by 8.8pc

PUBLISHED : Monday, 12 March, 2018, 10:35pm
UPDATED : Monday, 12 March, 2018, 11:36pm

Wheelock and Co, which pulled in HK$6.4 billion (US$816 million) in property sales over the weekend, said on the Monday that it is interested in HNA Group’s last residential site in Kai Tak should the debt-laden Chinese conglomerate put it up for sale.

The company bought a similar site in Kai Tak for HK$6.36 billion from HNA last week.

“If HNA considers [selling] the fourth piece of land to certain buyers, I am sure that we will go through with it,” said Douglas Woo, chairman and managing director of Wheelock.

Hong Kong’s biggest housing sale starts with a roar as 750 units snapped up during weekend sales at Wheelock’s Lohas Park

“Wheelock has launched Oasis Kai Tak before,” referring to the company’s project at the site of Hong Kong’s former airport. “So I guess [the possibility of buying HNA’s plot] is reasonable. But, of course, it depends on the resources,” he said.

His statement comes after the group’s launch of its mass residential project, Malibu, in Lohas Park near Tseung Kwan O, received overwhelming response. Its property unit, Wheelock Properties, generated HK$6.4 billion from the sale of 750 flats in just two days.

To capitalise on the buying frenzy, Wheelock on Monday released another batch of 160 units, but increased the prices by 8.8 per cent compared to those sold on the weekend.

Prices start at HK$5.8 million after discounts for a 371 square foot, one-bedroom flat, or HK$15,660 per sq ft.

Meanwhile, the group’s underlying profit, excluding revaluation gain on investment properties, rose to HK$12 billion, up 1.5 per cent year on year on Monday, according to its filing to the Hong Kong bourse.

It, however, fell short of the HK$12.5 billion consensus estimate of eight analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

Wheelock’s Kai Tak launch draws hundreds of homebuyers

The group’s property sales reached a record of HK$26.1 billion for the year ended December 2017, mainly driven by the sale of a commercial building, 8 Bay East, in Kwun Tong for HK$9 billion.

Including revaluation gains of HK$9.87 billion in investment properties, net profit surged 26 per cent year on year to HK$20.6 billion, with earnings per share rising to HK$10.09.

“We sold a total of 1,325 homes for HK$17.1 billion, such as Monterey in Tseung Kwan O, Oasis Kai Tak and Mount Nicholson on The Peak,” said Woo.

Wheelock declared a final dividend of 95 HK cents, up 11.8 per cent from a year ago.

Some analysts said the company’s results are satisfactory.

“Margin before tax and financing cost improved this year,” said Lung Siu-fung, property analyst at CIMB Securities.

The brokerage expects the company to sustain such performance because of sufficient land bank and higher than expected selling prices.

The developer’s shares closed at HK$59.85 on Monday, up 0.9 per cent from last Friday.