August 2, 2018 / 9:34 AM / 6 months ago

CK Hutchison H1 profit rises 13 pct on energy, infrastructure boost

* Jan-June net profit at $2.3 bln, revenue up 16 pct

* Company warns trade tensions will continue to cause volatility

* Stock ends down 2.4 pct ahead of results

By Donny Kwok

HONG KONG, Aug 2 (Reuters) - CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd , the ports-to-telecoms arm of retired billionaire businessman Li Ka-shing, posted a 13 percent rise in first-half net profit on Thursday, buoyed by strong energy, infrastructure and retail businesses.

The earnings gains came despite increased volatility in financial markets in the first half which company chairman Victor Li expects to continue for the rest of the year.

January-June profit reached HK$18.02 billion ($2.3 billion), compared with HK$15.92 billion profit for the same period a year earlier.

Total revenue rose 16 percent to HK$224.51 billion. It declared an interim dividend of HK$0.87 per share, up 11.5 percent from a year ago.

“Mounting trade conflicts, uncertainty as to economic and interest rate policies, as well as continuing geopolitical risks have led to increasing financial market volatility in the first half,” Li said in a statement.

“Volatility in currency, commodity and financial markets is expected to continue in the second half, as trade tensions are unlikely to ease off in the short term,” he added.

Shares of CK Hutchison ended down 2.4 percent to a two-week low on Thursday ahead of the results.

Hong Kong’s richest man, Li Ka-shing, announced in March his retirement as chairman of CK Hutchison and real estate arm CK Asset, bringing to a close a rags-to-riches story that made him a hero in the freewheeling capitalist hub.

Li retired after the annual general meeting on May 10, passing the mantle to his eldest son Victor Li, who was named successor several years ago.

The conglomerate made 47 percent of its revenue in Europe in the first half of 2018, while Hong Kong and mainland China contributed 19 percent, and Canada 12 percent.

The retail division contributed to 37 percent of its revenue, telecommunications accounted for 20 percent, infrastructure 15 percent, energy at 12 percent, and ports at 8 percent.

Last week, CK Hutchison-owned Husky Energy Inc posted a profit of C$448 million in the second quarter ended in June, compared with a loss of C$93 million a year earlier, helped by higher crude oil prices. Sister firm Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings Ltd said first-half profit rose 5 percent. ($1 = 7.8490 Hong Kong dollars) (Reporting by Donny Kwok; Editing by Anne Marie Roantree and Manolo Serapio Jr.)

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