February 28, 2018 / 5:37 AM / a year ago

City Developments says Spore's property recovery nascent; Q4 profit down

SINGAPORE, Feb 28 (Reuters) - City Developments Ltd said on Wednesday the housing market revival in Singapore was only just beginning, even as the property developer reported a 23 percent fall in its fourth-quarter profit.

The city-state’s property market is staging a nascent recovery as private home prices rose for the first time in four years in 2017, though it was a modest 1.1 percent.

“After a challenging four-year period, there is a boost in sentiment for the Singapore residential market with increased sales volume and prices,” Kwek Leng Beng, City Developments’ billionaire executive chairman, said in a statement.

“To drive growth, we will look to our property development business, particularly in Singapore where the upturn in the property cycle is only just beginning.”

He said overall housing prices could rise by at least 5 percent this year. That is in line with other market estimates, although some analysts have forecast a rise of as much as 10 percent.

The company posted a profit of S$186.7 million ($141 million) for the fourth quarter ended December, compared with S$243.8 million a year ago. It said year-ago results were boosted by several factors, including divestments and high-margin projects.

The company, which has been acquiring land for development in Singapore over the past year, said it had 2,750 residential units in the pipeline. It said on Tuesday that the company and its partner had submitted the top bid of S$509.37 million for another site.

The company said it would continue to look for more land acquisition opportunities.

On Wednesday, the company also said it aimed to become a leading fund manager in Asia, with a target to attain assets under management of $5 billion by 2023.

$1 = 1.3242 Singapore dollars Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan; Editing by Vyas Mohan

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