Half-time sales exceed $1b for first time

Straits Times: Fri, Aug 12
THE global economy is shaky and share markets are on a roller-coaster but the property president of developer UOL believes home buyers have plenty of positives in their favour. Mr Liam Wee Sin said people should reject the doom-and-gloom view su…

THE global economy is shaky and share markets are on a roller-coaster but the property president of developer UOL believes home buyers have plenty of positives in their favour.

Mr Liam Wee Sin said people should reject the doom-and-gloom view surrounding real estate and focus on those positives.

‘We have very low interest rates and a strong Singdollar right now, even though there is a lot of uncertainty out there,’ he said.

He noted that low interest rates would make homes more affordable, while the strong currency could attract foreign buyers who see Singapore as being ‘in a stronger position than elsewhere’.

‘It’s too simplistic to say that we’ll react negatively just because the markets are down. Various factors balance against each other – it’s not necessarily a one-way street,’ added Mr Liam, who was speaking after the release of the company’s second-quarter results yesterday.

Net profit came in at $202 million for the three months to June 30, 16 per cent up from last year’s $174 million.

There was a 40 per cent jump in revenue to $455.9 million, from $326.7 million in the corresponding quarter last year.

Revenue for the six months shot up by 72 per cent from $685.5 million to $1.2 billion – the first time half-time sales have exceeded $1 billion.

Net profit for the first half rose 59 per cent to $432.2 million.

UOL put the performance down mainly to increased income from property and property investment, although this was partly offset by lower profit shares from associated companies and higher finance expenses.

The company recently acquired the Lion City Hotel site and has obtained provisional permission from the Urban Redevelopment Authority to convert it to 60 per cent commercial use with the rest earmarked for about 250 units of flats, said Mr Liam.

Earnings per share for the quarter came to 26.1 cents, up from 22.19 cents in the same period last year, while net asset value per share for the quarter stood at $6.45, up from $5.96 as of Dec 31.

UOL shares yesterday closed 9 cents down at $4.51 apiece.
Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd

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