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Wheelock may not launch Orchard View this year

WHEELOCK Properties (Singapore) is likely to hold off launching Orchard View at Angullia Park for sale until next year, when the project is slated for completion. The company had earlier indicated that the development would be launched some time this year.

The group, which yesterday posted a six-fold jump in group net profit for the quarter ended Dec 31, 2007, to $217.5 million, also said it expects to launch Ardmore 3 next year. Piling work for the project is in progress and the development is slated for completion in 2012.

For Orchard View, the main construction work is already in progress and the development is scheduled for completion next year.

For the quarter ended Dec 31, 2007, Wheelock’s revenue from continuing operations rose 43.8 per cent to $189.3 million. Wheelock’s strong topline and bottomline were mainly due to the start of revenue and profit recognition for units sold in Ardmore II condo. The bottomline also received a boost from a $200 million revaluation surplus on Wheelock Place, the group’s retail-and-office investment property on Orchard Road.

Wheelock, which has changed its financial year-end from March 31 to Dec 31, said that for the current year it will book the remaining profits from The Sea View condo in the Amber Road area and The Cosmopolitan at the River Valley/Kim Seng Road corner, which are slated for completion in first-half 2008 and mid-2008 respectively.

It will also continue to book profits from Ardmore II based on the progress of construction work and expects to book maiden profits on Scotts Square, a 338-unit apartment development which is already 67 per cent sold at an average price of $3,988 psf. ‘Sales of the remaining units are ongoing and we expect to sell progressively over the next two years,’ the group said.

Wheelock Place is also expected to continue maintaining full occupancy in the current strong market conditions and ‘prospects for improved rental rates are good for both office and retail space’.

‘The group remains in a strong financial position to take advantage of opportunities which may arise,’ Wheelock said.

As at Dec 31, 2007, the group had total liabilities of $749.5 million and total equity of $2.18 billion. It had cash and cash equivalents of $557.7 million as at the same date. Shareholders will receive a 6-cent per share (one-tier) first and final dividend for the period ended Dec 31, 2007.

With the change in its financial year, the group reported net earnings of $273.5 million for the nine months ended Dec 31, 2007, against net profit of $297.9 million for the 12 months ended March 31, 2007.

Wheelock’s net asset value per share stood at $1.82 as at Dec 31, up from $1.69 as at March 31, 2007.

Earlier this month, the group boosted its investment in fellow upscale residential developer SC Global Developments from 12.01 per cent to 13.09 per cent.

Source: Business Times 23 Feb 07

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