Wheelock sticks by home price forecast

Business | Dominique Nguy 16 Aug 2016

Wheelock (0020) chairman Douglas Woo Chun-kuen said the home market has stabilized recently but given the market volatility and uncertainties in the global economy, he maintained the forecast made at the start of the year that a 5-10 percent adjustment in home prices this year would be normal.

Wheelock's overall property contracted sales was HK$11.8 billion up to August 14, reaching the company's yearly target of HK$10 billion in advance.

Woo said the company will continue the sales strategy set at the beginning of the year and is planning to launch its Tuen Mun residential project - NAPA in the second half.

Woo said it is possible that there might be a price hike in flats to be launched in the second half of this year, saying it would depend on the market conditions.

Asked if he would adjust this year's sales target, Woo said the target is only "a line" and the sales performance in the second half will depend on NAPA.

Wheelock's net profit in the first half of this year dropped by 29 percent to HK$5.66 billion compared to the same period last year. Earnings per share in the first half were HK$2.79. The developer's core profit also went down by 19 percent to HK$5.13 billion.

Contracted sales in the first half was HK$5.8 billion, with Savannah, One Homantin and Mount Nicholson as the main contributors. Wheelock's land bank under management was 8.3 million square feet, of which 95 percent is located in city center and 80 percent is on the harbor front.

Woo said the company's land bank would be sufficient for developments in the next few years and the company will continue to bid for both commercial and residential sites in the future. Asked about competition from mainland developers on bidding for sites, Woo said it is a positive sign as it shows such developers are also confident about the local property market.

On commercial properties, Woo said they are in the process of redeveloping former Wharf T&T Square in Kwun Tong.

Meanwhile, Woo revealed that the ccompany has increased its holdings of Wharf's (0004) shares earlier this year and said it would consider to further increase the holdings at the right price.

Wheelock proposed an interim dividend of HK$0.45, up by 6 percent from last year.

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