Higher fuel, material costs hurt SP Setia profits

The property developer's fourth quarter net profit fell 24 per cent to RM76 million due to disruption of work in progress led by fuel and energy price increases

Property developer SP Setia Bhd reported weaker fourth quarter and full-year results for fiscal 2008 as higher costs of fuel and materials eroded profits.

It also missed its full-year sales target of RM1.5 billion, reporting a revenue of RM1.3 billion.

"We expect to maintain the group's performance next year by launching a product mix targeted at niche markets according to their need," group managing director and chief executive officer Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin said after announcing the results in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

SP Setia's fourth quarter net profit fell 24 per cent to RM76 million due to disruption of work in progress led by fuel and energy price increases.

Revenue for the quarter was RM420.8 million, a 33 per cent jump from RM317.2 million previously.

The group's sales were mainly derived from its property development activities in Setia Alam and Setia Eco Park in Shah Alam; Bukit Indah, Setia Indah, Setia Tropika and Setia Eco Gardens in Johor Baru; and Setia Pearl Island in Penang.

SP Setia has 16 ongoing projects with a combined gross development value of RM30 billion.

Its total undeveloped landbank stands at 1,959ha, inclusive of 223ha in Vietnam.

For the full year to October 31 2008, SP Setia posted net profit of RM213.5 million, 18 per cent lower than what it made in 2007.

Revenue was up 15 per cent to RM1.33 billion.

It has proposed a total dividend payout of 17 sen per share.

Since SP Setia has already launched all its major townships complete with infrastructure, school, hypermarket and other amenities, it will now develop dedica-ted products driven by consumer demand.

"We are also beginning to see construction prices trending down, beginning with the decrease in steel bar prices. We will continue to develop products that suit house buyers' changing lifestyle and affordability," said Liew.

With a net gearing of 0.19 time and some RM593 million cash in hand, SP Setia will continue to look for suitable land in the three states it has already carved its Setia brand.

Commenting on its first overseas venture in Vietnam, Liew said the company hopes to launch the township by the second quarter of next year.

SP Setia has clinched a deal to jointly build a 32ha mixed development in Ho Chi Minh City catering for expatriates and senior staff working in the Saigon Hi-Tech Park. - By Zurinna Raja Adam (Business Times)

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