November 8, 2017 / 10:24 AM / a year ago

Top Thai retailer Central Q3 profit soars on insurance payment

BANGKOK, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Central Pattana Pcl, Thailand’s largest shopping mall operator, said on Wednesday its net profit for the third quarter soared as it cut costs and booked a non-recurring insurance payment.

The insurance claim was from a terrorism protection policy, which covered damages after a mall was set ablaze during the 2010 anti-government protests in Bangkok.

The company’s net profit rose 155 percent to 5.98 billion baht ($180.61 million) for the quarter ending in September from a year earlier, boosted by the claim of 3.5 billion baht.

Excluding the claim, the firm brought in 2.48 billion baht, up 6 percent, on cost management. It lowered financing costs by 37.3 percent from a year earlier due to lower interest-bearing debt, Central Pattana said in a statement.

Same-store average monthly rental rate of properties rose 3.3 percent to 1,629 baht per square metre. Occupancy rates for its retail properties were 91 percent, slightly lower than the 93 percent in the same period last due to major renovations.

The company’s hotel unit brought in 274 million baht in revenue, up 10.5 percent from the year-ago quarter.

Central, owned by the Chiratiwat family, Thailand’s third richest family, said although the economy was expanding on exports and tourism, consumer spending was constrained due to high household debt and declining agriculture product prices.

The company expects to launch retail properties in Phuket and Malaysia in 2018.

In September, its parent Central Group announced a $500 million joint venture with Chinese online retailer .

Central shares closed up 2.8 percent at 83 baht. ($1 = 33.1100 baht) (Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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