Property player Lian Beng Group took a hit in the first half of its financial year as Covid-19 restrictions hammered the construction segment.
Net profit fell 5.2 per cent to $17.6 million for the six months to Nov 30 last year, while revenue tumbled by 36.6 per cent to $197.5 million, compared with the same period a year earlier.
The drag came from work suspension during the circuit breaker period and labour supply disruptions, the company said on Thursday.
But the hit to the top line was broad-based, as the hold-up in construction led to a decline in property development turnover.
Meanwhile, tenant rental rebates decreased investment holdings revenue, Lian Beng said. Given the double-digit revenue drop, earnings slipped even with support from the group’s share of results from associates and joint ventures, which were up year on year.
The home-grown building construction and property development company said it recognised more development profit and sales from its private-home projects, while its dormitory business and investment holdings benefited from lower interest rates. These made up for a share of losses from its British hotel business.
Earnings a share came to 3.52 cents for the half year, down from 3.72 cents in the same period a year earlier, while net asset value rose to 145.58 cents a share, up from 141.24 cents as at May 31 last year.
No interim dividend was recommended, unlike the year before, when Lian Beng paid out one cent a share. The move came on a decision to prioritise cash conservation.
This was as the level of activity in the construction sector is expected to remain limited amid the Covid-19 pandemic, with the group warning that the supply chain for materials may be disrupted, affecting construction project completion costs.
Still, Lian Beng’s construction order book was $1.5 billion as at Thursday, which the group said should support its activities until 2023.
THE BUSINESS TIMES