Hang Lung Properties reported on Wednesday 2018 underlying profit plunged 26 per cent on year, matching analyst expectations, amid softer sales during a 12-month period that coincided with a downturn in the developer’s project completion pipeline. For the financial year ended December 31, the developer’s underlying profit totalled HK$4.09 billion (US$522 million), or 91 HK cents per share, compared to HK$5.53 billion, or HK$1.23 per share, a year earlier. The company will distribute a final dividend of 58 HK cents per share, which remained unchanged from the previous year. Together with an interim dividend of 17 HK cents per share, the full year dividend for 2018 amounted to 75 HK cents per share. Hang Lung recorded relatively few property sales for 2018, including three house at 23-39 Blue Pool Road in Happy Valley and nine flats at The Long Beach in Southwest Kowloon, resulting in revenue from property sales of HK$1.23 billion, a drop of 64 per cent from a year earlier. Hang Lung reported sales of 228 flats in 2017. Profit from property sales totalled HK$762 million, a drop of 66 per cent from a year earlier. Hang Lung’s shares ended 1.08 per cent higher at HK$16.84 on Wednesday in Hong Kong, following the midday results announcement. Despite the slide in underlying profit, analysts remained optimistic on the outlook for Hang Lung this year. “Operating performance is gathering steam in the second half of 2019 with the opening of Spring City 66 in Kunming in mid-2019 and completion of renovation of Grand Gateway in late 2019,” said JP Morgan’s managing director and head of Asia property and Hong Kong research Cusson Leung. “Policy support of China’s domestic consumption is likely to benefit Hang Lung’s mall portfolio.” Nomura research analyst Joyce Kwock said Hang Lung’s fortunes should improve in coming quarters thanks to a strong completion pipeline in the next 18 months and a better earnings outlook as new commercial properties come on stream. Projects slated to open in the coming quarters include Spring City 66, a complex involving two skyscrapers and a shopping centre located in Kunming, Forum 66, a twin tower complex in Shenyang, and Center 66, a mixed-use office and retail project in Wuxi. Projects slated to open in the coming quarters include Spring City 66, a complex involving two skyscrapers and a shopping centre located in Kunming, Conrad Hotel occupying the top 19 floors of an office tower of Forum 66, a twin tower complex in Shenyang, and Tower 2 of Center 66, a mixed-use office and retail project in Wuxi.