MTR 2017 net profit rises to HK$16.8b

Business | Samantha Wong 9 Mar 2018

MTR Corporation (0066) yesterday said net profit last year jumped 64 percent to HK$16.8 billion.

It said earnings from Hong Kong property developments spiked from HK$311 million in 2016 to HK$1.1 billion last year.

Its board has recommended a final dividend of 87 HK cents per share, bringing total dividends to HK$1.12 per share for the year.

Basic earnings per share were HK$2.83, up from HK$1.74.

Over the next four years, it will expand its investment properties portfolio in Hong Kong by adding 1.1 million square feet of gross floor area to its retail portfolio, an increase of about 34 percent, the company said.

It said the development of the new LOHAS Park shopping center in Tseung Kwan O and the Tai Wai shopping center is ongoing and target completion is set by the end of 2020 and 2022, respectively.

MTR noted that rents remained under pressure in the retail segment.

Retail rents declined moderately toward the end of last year as the sector was affected by a dip in tourist spending and the growing popularity of e-commerce.

As of end-December last year, it rented out 1,416 retail shops across its stations, 24 shops more from a year earlier.

They occupied a total of about 632,000 square meters of retail premises. The increase in the number of retail shops that were rented out was due to the opening of 11 new shops at Hung Hom, Kowloon and Wan Chai stations.

The number was also boosted by the opening of 15 shops at various stations which were previously closed for redevelopment.

On residential developments, MTR property director David Tang Chi-fai said more than 18,000 flats, with a total gross floor area of over 11.5 million sq ft, will be completed over the next six years.

MTR said it will "continue to look for other opportunities to develop property along our railway lines," adding about 14,000 residential units in Siu Ho Wan on Lantau Island could be built.

Outside Hong Kong, MTR's rail businesses carried an average of 6.49 million passengers every weekday last year.

In Britain, its 30 percent owned associate, awarded by the South Western Railway franchise, has been running from August 2017.

In Australia, a seven-year extension to operate Melbourne's Metropolitan Rail Service was awarded to MTR, with an option for a further extension of three years.

In China, a concession agreement with the Hangzhou Municipal Government and Hangzhou Metro Group for a public-private partnership project was signed.

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