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Property fall hits MTRC bottom line

Victor Cheung

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

MTR Corp (0066) marked its third-worst earnings decline since listing in 2000 as net profit tumbled 13 percent last year to HK$13.53 billion amid lower income from property development.

Underlying profit, which excludes property revaluation, dropped 6.6 percent to HK$9.78 billion - above market expectations. The rail operator will pay a final dividend of 54 HK cents per share.

Profit from property development plunged 36 percent to HK$2.7 billion, while that from other recurrent businesses rose 13 percent to HK$7.07 billion.

Property director David Tang Chi-fai said the MTRC does not expect to see any project completions in the coming year.

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Overall revenue rose 7 percent to HK$35.7 billion, in which local railway revenue climbed 7.5 percent to HK$14.5 billion on the tariff hike and a 4.7 percent rise in local patronage to 1.77 billion.

MTRC said it will tender four plots in the next 12 months, including at Tai Wai station and Light Rail Tin Wing Stop, which were previously withdrawn.

Others are phase four of Lohas Park in Tseung Kwan O and the south site at West Rail Long Ping station.

Chief executive Jay Walder, meanwhile, said the review of the fare-adjustment mechanism is expected to be completed this month. The next fare hike will be decided in June.

He refused to comment on speculation the government may add "penal factors" into the fare scheme such as bad service.


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