Wheelock and Co's (0020) first-half underlying net profit - excluding investment property revaluation gain and exceptional items - rose 35.21 percent year-on-year to HK$6.98 billion, driven by investment properties in Hong Kong and the mainland.
Net profit for the six months ended June 30 fell 3.22 percent to HK$8.33 billion, with earnings per share of HK$4.07. An interim dividend of 52.5 cents a share was declared, up 5 percent.
Chairman Douglas Woo Chun-kuen said yesterday as an open market, Hong Kong has been exposed to external uncertainties, including the Sino-US trade war, potential hard Brexit, and slowing local GDP.
The local primary and secondary property markets have been affected recently, he said, adding the firm will closely monitor investment sentiment from both local and foreign companies.
Woo expects the SAR housing market to remain volatile in the second half.
In Hong Kong, Wheelock's residential contracted sales dropped 30.77 percent year-on-year to HK$16.2 billion in the first half, with a total of 1,282 units sold or presold.
The net order book - presold but contracted sales not yet recognized - grew 30.71 percent to HK$34.9 billion from year-end 2018, mainly driven by launches of Montara and Grand Montara in Lohas Park. The two new projects saw 1,120 flats presold for an aggregate HK$9.8 billion.
Recognized property sales surged 4.72 times to HK$4.45 billion, while operating profit soared 7.9 times to HK$1.76 billion in the first half, mainly driven by the delivery of units at Monterey in Tseung Kwan O, and One Homantin in Ho Man Tin.
Woo stressed that Wheelock's major business remains in Hong Kong, where it will keep buying land. However, it will consider the market situation and be more selective.
Taking into account the Kai Tak residential plot acquired last month, the developer's land bank hit 6.7 million square feet.
Wheelock shares fell 1.52 percent to HK$45.50 yesterday.