Published May 12, 2007

UOL Q1 net profit more than trebles to $76.1m

It gains from sale of Central Plaza, revenue from property


PROPERTY group UOL's first-quarter net profit more than trebled to $76.1 million on the back of its gain from the sale of Central Plaza and revenue contributions from its various property developments, the company said yesterday.

Profit for the three months ended March 31, 2007, rose 257 per cent from the $21.3 million recorded for the corresponding period in 2006. Revenue also increased by 10 per cent to $145.7 million, from $132.3 million in 2006. Profit was boosted by an exceptional gain of about $37.1 million from the sale of Central Plaza.

UOL attributed the better revenue figures mainly to the progressive recognition of revenues from the sale of units in Pavilion II, Newton Suites, Twin Regency and Regency Suites. Revenue from its hotel operations division was also higher due to improved performance of the group's hotels in Australia, Vietnam and Malaysia and the inclusion of revenue from Negara on Claymore which was acquired in June 2006, UOL said.

The group remains upbeat about the outlook of the property market in Singapore, going forward. 'The private residential market should continue to be active, fuelled by both local and foreign demand,' UOL said in a filing to the Singapore Exchange. 'Occupancy and rental rates for office space could improve further, in the face of limited new supply.'

The tourism sector in Singapore and the region also remains buoyant and this should benefit the group's hotels, it added.

Separately, UOL subsidiary Hotel Plaza yesterday reported that net profit for its first quarter ended March 31, 2007 rose 49 per cent to $10.5 million, from $7.1 million for the corresponding three months last year. Revenue fell marginally by 2 per cent to $66.2 million. Hotel Plaza said this was due to the exclusion of the results from a former subsidiary, Hotel Grand Plaza (Singapore) Pte Ltd, which was sold in December 2006.

Hotel Plaza's shares closed four cents down at $2.00 yesterday, while UOL shares also closed four cents down at $4.90.