HONG KONG, April 23 /PRNewswire/ --
- Net Profit Up 44.0% to HK$834.6 Million
- Ends Year with Net Cash of HK$3,214.7 Million
- Promising Prospects for Alternative Energy Business
-- Turnover recorded at HK$706.1 million (2006: $395.7 million), up by 78.4%, while gross profit at HK$102.7 million (2006: HK$79.3 million), an increase of 29.5% -- Profit attributable to equity holders increased 44.0% to HK$834.6 million (2006: HK$579.4 million) -- Total cash and cash equivalents at 31 December 2007 was HK$5,924.9 million (2006: HK$1,356.7 million), cash per share was HK72.1 cents (2006: HK$37.2 cents) -- Final and special dividends totaling HK3.5 cents per share were proposed (2006: HK6.0 cents) -- Net asset value per share increased 52.3% to HK163.1 cents (2006: HK107.1 cents) -- Net cash position of HK$3,214.7 million as at 31 December 2007 compared to gearing ratio of 22.9% in 2006
HKC (Holdings) Limited ("HKC (HOLDINGS)" or "the Group") (HKEx: 190) announced today its annual results for the year ended 31 December 2007.
During the year, the Group's turnover amounted to HK$706.1 million (2006: HK$395.7 million), representing an increase of 78.4%. At the same time, gross profit increased 29.5% to HK$102.7 million (2006: HK$79.3 million). Profit attributable to equity holders of the Group increased 44.0% to HK$834.6 million (2006: HK$579.4 million), primarily due to the revaluation of the Group's properties in the PRC, and to the negative goodwill related to the Group's acquisition of additional share interests in property companies in Shanghai and Tianjin.
In view of the encouraging results, and to reward shareholders, the Board of Directors recommended the payment of a final and special dividend of HK3.5 cents per share, together with the interim dividend of HK10 cents per share already paid, the total dividend for the year will be HK13.5 cents per share.
Mr. Eric Oei, Executive Chairman of HKC (HOLDINGS), said, "Marking the twentieth anniversary of the Group's listing on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong, HKC (HOLDINGS) made some of its biggest steps forward in the Group's corporate history. Our strategy to raise funds has positioned the Group as a cash-rich company, enabling us to make some important acquisitions of well-placed and reasonably priced land in China to add to our quality landbank for development. At the same time, the Group's market capitalization continued to grow, passing the HK$20 billion mark at one point in 2007. That growth in turn attracted large scale institutional investors whose input has helped the Group to build further momentum."
Gaining Strategic Partners
During the period under review, the Group gained major strategic investors Cerberus Asia Capital Management, LLC ("Cerberus") and Penta Investment Advisers Ltd ("Penta") who have not only injected cash; but have also provided valuable input and advice at the management level, improved internal management systems; and boosted the Group's international reputation. In addition, at the project level, CB Richard Ellis Strategic Partners Asia II, LP ("CBRE") agreed to partner with the Group to co-develop properties in China.
Strong cash position puts the Group in a strong position to acquire land at reasonable prices
The launch of a strategic fund-raising programme began in late 2006 and included further significant capital injections by major international investors in 2007. Since November 2006, the Group has raised a total of HK$8.58 billion from the capital markets. As the property market begins to cool, and property prices are reined in, the Group's strong net cash position becomes a major strength. As a result, the Group may be in a good position to acquire land at reasonable prices from both public tenders and from the private sector.
Property Investment, Development and Management
Mr. Eric Oei commented on the Group's property business, "I am pleased to see the Group made significant steps forward in acquiring quality land and launching projects that, over next few years, will transform its existing property investment portfolio as well as generating revenue from sales of residential property. With our strong cash position, we will look for selective opportunities to acquire land at prices that will result in a significant return for shareholders."
During the year, the Group has enlarged its landbank significantly with property development projects in high-potential cities such as Shanghai, Tianjin, Huzhou, and Shenyang. As of now, HKC (HOLDINGS) has landbank of over 1.8 million sq.m. In the Nanxun Economic Development District in Huzhou, construction of the complex for furniture suppliers has begun. In Tianjin, the Group is currently developing a site along the eastern shore of Tuanbo Lake into residential villas and apartments for sale. In Shenyang, a new subway station is currently under construction near the site acquired by the Group. Other development projects are expected to commence construction shortly, and should generate significant income to the Group over the long run.
"With demand increasing for alternative energy, and China seeking to develop a strong alternative energy industry by requiring 15% of the energy supply to be from alternative sources by 2020, the Group has been pursuing strategic investments in alternative energy projects. During 2007, the Group made major progress on its three major investments in wind farms," Mr. Eric Oei commented.
During the year, the Group completed construction of its two 30MW wind power stations in Heilongjiang, which have now begun generating electricity and are contributing revenue to the Group. In Hebei, the first phase of the proposed 200MW capacity wind power plant is well underway. As for the joint venture 24MW waste-to-energy plant in Shandong, trial operations began in August. The Group also acquired preferential rights to develop a wind power plant in the Siziwang Qi area in Inner Mongolia, with a generating capacity of 50MW being approved by relevant authorities in 2007.
The PRC government's moves to implement cooling measures are certain to squeeze lesser developers, and will therefore work in favor of the Group. On top of acquiring a prime site in Sichuan Road in Shanghai and bringing CBRE as a partner for its Nankai site in Tianjin, the Group is also looking at opportunities in Qingdao, Hangzhou, Tianjin, and other areas in China, taking advantage of a tighter property market. Since January 2008 to date, the Group has increased its landbank by 53,700 sq.m. and plans to continue increasing its landbank in 2008, at the same time aiming to set aside 70% of its land for commercial investment projects.
The Group's Shandong waste-to-energy plant can be expanded into Phase II as the city expands; the first Phase of the Group's Hebei wind farm is expected to begin generating electricity later in 2008 and the Group and China Energy Conservation Investment Corporation plan to establish a joint venture to invest in a 200 MW wind power plant in Gansu Province. The completion of the joint venture wind farm in Hebei and the Group's involvement in acquiring a majority stake in an ethanol plant in Chongqing represent strategic moves to further extend its alternative energy arm.
To further grow its alternative energy business, the Group entered into a share purchase agreement with Nam Tai Electronics, Inc, to acquire approximately 74.99% of Hong Kong listed company J.I.C. Technology Company Ltd ("JIC" or the "Company"; to be renamed as Hong Kong Energy (Holdings) Limited)(HKEx: 987). The Group intends to use JIC as a principle vehicle through which to channel any new investment in the alternative energy businesses. The Group considers it strategically appropriate to continue to develop the alternative energy business through a separate listed entity, and through which to secure long-term expansion funding. As a new strategic platform, JIC will help strengthen the Group's competitiveness in the alternative energy sector in the PRC.
Mr. Eric Oei concluded, "In recent years, HKC (HOLDINGS) has been vigorously and successfully transforming itself from a construction company into a major property developer and alternative energy player in mainland China. In light of all the above, our outlook for the future remains robust and we expect both our property and alternative energy business to grow satisfactorily. With such a strong net cash position, reputable international strategic partners, and a promising new diversification of the alternative energy business, we are confident of continuing to deliver a stellar performance in the year to come."
About HKC (Holdings) Limited (stock code: 190)
HKC (Holdings) Limited is principally engaged in property development and investment activities with a primary focus in the PRC. It is also one of the leading providers of alternative energy in the PRC. In October 2007, Cerberus Asia Capital Management, LLC has become the Group's second largest shareholder. In March 2008, the Group acquired 74.99% interest in J.I.C. Technology Company Limited (SEHK: 987), all new investment in the alternative energy business will be conducted through JIC.
For more information, please visit the Group's website: http://www.hkcholdings.com .
For media enquiries: Strategic Financial Relations Limited Esther Chan Tel: +852-2864-4825 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Vicky Lee Tel: +852-2864-4834 Email: email@example.com Doris Chan Tel: +852-2114-4950 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Germain Lam Tel: +852-2864-4861 Email: email@example.com
Web site: http://www.hkcholdings.com
Esther Chan at +852-2864-4825 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or Vicky Lee at +852-2864-4834 or email@example.com; Doris Chan at +852-2114-4950 or firstname.lastname@example.org; Germain Lam at +852-2864-4861 or email@example.com, all of Strategic Financial Relations Limited, for HKC (Holdings) Limited