Henderson Land Development, the property giant chaired by Lee Shau-kee, saw core earnings soar 52 per cent in the first half of the year, driven mainly by a hefty gain from two asset disposals. The firm, expecting offer another 2,300 flats for sale in the second half of this year, remained upbeat about the market outlook. “The recent US-China trade disputes have obscured the global economic outlook,” the company said in a filing to the stock exchange on Thursday. “Nevertheless, Hong Kong’s economic fundamentals remain in shape.” Following the commissioning of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link, it added Hong Kong is likely to play a more active role in the development of the Greater Bay Area, which would benefit the long-term economic development of the city itself. Underlying profit, excluding revaluation gains on investment properties, increased 52 per cent to HK$13.8 billion (US$1.76 billion) in the six months to June. However, its shares closed at one-month low of HK$40.8 on Thursday as fresh strong economic data out of the US added to fears of an interest rate rise next month which would weigh heavy on home prices. The recent US-China trade disputes have obscured the global economic outlook. Nevertheless, Hong Kong’s economic fundamentals remain in shape Henderson Land interim filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange The firm attributed its healthy increase in profit to a gain of more than HK$8 billion from the sale of a residential plot in Tuen Mun to China Evergrande Group and the sale of a new grade A office tower at 18 King Wah Road in North Point to Shenzhen-listed financial institution, China Create Capital It said the sale of the Tuen Mun parcel contributed a pre-tax return of HK$2.8 billion, while it gained HK$5.6 billion from the sale of the North Point office tower. Turnover edged 2 per cent higher to HK$13.14 billion, from HK$12.88 billion in 2017. Including a HK$3.9 billion revaluation gain on investment properties, the company’s net profit increased 15 per cent to HK$15 billion. An interim dividend of 50 HK cents will be paid, up from 48 HK cents in 2017. Home demand helps developers clear housing stock before Hong Kong slaps vacancy tax on hoarders Henderson Land said it expected another 250,000 square feet of industrial and office spaces in Hong Kong to be ready for sale by the end of 2018. It also plans a houses-cum-wetland restoration project, comprising 400 homes on a 2.23 million square foot site in n Wo Sang Wai, Yuen Long, which has already been approved by the Town Planning Board. The developer claims to be the largest owner of farmland in the New Territories, with 45.3 million square feet of land reserves. It has a total land bank of 24.4 million square feet in Hong Kong Island, and stakes of between 80 and 100 per cent in 45 urban projects representing about 4.4 million square foot in gross floor area. The property heavyweight spent HK$37.83 billion acquiring 45 urban projects, translating into a land cost of about HK$8,600 per square foot. To boost that land bank, it paid HK$15.96 billion for two lots at Hong Kong’s former Kai Tak airport site from HNA in February. Those will be developed into what it described as “stylish residences” with a gross floor area of 1.1 million square feet. Its Henderson Investment subsidiary, which operates department stores in Hong Kong including Citistore and UNY HK, reported net profit up 33 per cent to HK$48 million in the half year. Its turnover increased 27.5 per cent to HK$524 million. An interim dividend of 2 HK cents will be issue to shareholders, unchanged from 2017.