Singapore Companies
Published November 15, 2006

Wheelock reports 4-fold rise in profit on UK unit's sale


BOOSTED by gains from the disposal of its UK unit, Wheelock Properties (Singapore) yesterday said that net profit for the second quarter ended Sept 30 more than quadrupled to $136.1 million. Net profit for the three months rose 363.9 per cent from the $29.3 million recorded for the same period last year, said the property developer, as it recorded a gain of $116 million from its sale of its UK-based Hamptons Group, which focuses on high-end residential property. The sale was announced in August.

Excluding gains from the sale and profit contribution from Hamptons before the sale, Wheelock's profit after tax from continuing operations fell 38.3 per cent to $16.0 million, as the company faced higher operating, finance and income tax expenses.

However, Wheelock reported that revenue for its second quarter rose 15.5 per cent to $108.2 million, from $93.7 million a year ago. The increase was due to revenue recognition for units sold in its 228-unit The Cosmopolitan in Kim Seng Road. No revenue was recognised for the project in the same period last year, said Wheelock. Earnings per share for the quarter rose to 11.38 cents, from 3.36 cents previously. But looking at just continuing operations, earnings per share fell from 2.97 cents to 1.34 cents.

Wheelock said there was no interim dividend for this period. 'The previous policy of paying an interim dividend has been discontinued as we have noted that the other major property companies do not pay interim dividends,' it said. 'We are reviewing our dividend policy but the total final dividend will not be less than 2.0 cents per share.' Last year, when announcing its Q2 results, Wheelock proposed a net special interim dividend of $1.65 a share and a two-for-one rights issue at 82.5 cents a share.

For the first half, net profit rose 238.9 per cent to $162.6 million, while revenue climbed 58.4 per cent to $211.9 million. Going forward, the company said that its Scotts Square project will be launched next year with 338 apartments for sale, and both Orchard View and Ardmore III will be launched in 2008. The developer still has units left in The Cosmopolitan (86 per cent sold), The Sea View (95 per cent sold) and Ardmore II (80 per cent sold).