No light at end of the retail tunnel for Swire

Business | Kevin Xu 14 Aug 2020

Swire Properties (1972) saw no signs of recovery in Hong Kong's retail market, but it is rebuilding the residential pipeline, according to Guy Bradley, chief executive of Swire Properties.

This came as Swire Properties said underlying net profit in the first half plunged 80 percent year-on-year to HK$3.75 billion and net profit decrease of 89 percent to HK$1.02 billion.

Earnings per share were HK$0.18. Swire Properties declared a first interim dividend of HK$0.30 per share.

"We're currently thinking that the second half is not going to be much better than the first half in terms of Hong Kong retail, with no real signs of recovery, unfortunately," Bradley said.

Swire Properties has four residential projects under development - three in Hong Kong and one in Indonesia.

Meanwhile, Swire Pacific (0019, 0087) recorded an underlying net loss of HK$5.48 billion in the first half, compared an underlying net profit of HK$15.84 billion in the same period last year.

First half net loss was HK$7.73 billion, compared to a net profit of HK$7.93 billion a year before. Losses per A share were HK$5.15, while losses per B share were HK$1.03. Swire Pacific declared first interim dividends of HK$0.7 per A share and HK$0.14 per B share.

The Marine Services Division recorded a recurring loss of HK$631 million in the first half, as demand for oil has fallen significantly as a result of Covid-19.

Swire Pacific and Swire Properties chairman Merlin Swire said the group will review dividend payment and remain open-minded to non-core asset sales.

When asked about the risk that Swire shares could be removed from the Hang Seng Index, Merlin Swire said: "Whether we're in the index or not, we're in Hong Kong, and we're not going anywhere."

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