Straits Times: Wed, Feb 15
PROPERTY giant CapitaLand is confident that the demand for homes is still healthy in Singapore and China despite property cooling measures imposed in both countries in recent months.
Speaking at the group's results briefing yesterday, CapitaLand chief executive and president Liew Mun Leong said China faces a shortage of homes and that many middle-class buyers are still on the lookout for property.
Aside from residential projects, he said he hopes to offer diverse real estate options by developing more mixed-use projects in China, allowing the group to make the most of the expertise of its residential, retail, commercial and hospitality teams.
He added that Singapore has strong economic fundamentals and that the housing supply has not risen at the same rate as the economy and population, which have experienced robust growth in recent years.
He said buyers who may be waiting for sharp price cuts at the group's residential projects will be sorely disappointed.
'Marginal changes, yes, but we are not going to drastically reduce the prices just to move the inventory and therefore our balance sheet. Personally, I feel it also creates a lot of noise around you, especially from those who have bought the units earlier,' he added.
The group also revealed that its new Bishan project is called Sky Habitat. The launch of the 509-unit project was initially scheduled for the first quarter of this year but CapitaLand has said that it has been pushed back to the second quarter.
Speaking to The Straits Times, CapitaLand Residential Singapore chief executive Wong Heang Fine explained that the change in date was due to a combination of factors.
'It takes some time for people to absorb the effects of the (extra buyers' stamp duty) and there were also a lot of festivities, like Chinese New Year, that took place earlier this year. At the end of the day, we want to make sure the market is ready before we start selling.'
The group announced a net profit of $476.6 million for the final three months of last year, a 20 per cent drop from the figure a year before.
This was despite a 17.3 per cent rise in revenue to $1.06 billion from 2010's restated $903 million.
The improved performance was mainly due to the higher revenue from development projects in Singapore, China, Australia and Vietnam.
Quarterly earnings per share fell from a restated 13.8 cents to 11.2 cents.
Net profit for the full year which ended last Dec 31 was $1.06 billion, a drop of 25.8 per cent, with revenue also falling 10.8 per cent to $3.02 billion.
Earnings per share for the full year also dropped from a restated 33.5 cents to 24.8 cents. But net asset value was $3.51 as of last Dec 31, a rise from the $3.29 a year earlier.
An ordinary dividend of six cents and a special dividend of two cents were proposed.