Wharf’s Core Profit Rises 5% on Hong Kong Retail Rental Growth

Wharf (Holdings) Ltd. (4), the Hong Kong builder expanding in at least 14 other Chinese cities, said first-half core profit rose 5 percent after posting gains in rental income from its shopping malls in the city.

Profit excluding property revaluations and one-time gains advanced to HK$5.68 billion ($732 million) in the six months ended June 30 from HK$5.43 billion a year earlier, Wharf said today in a filing to Hong Kong’s stock exchange.

Wharf’s Times Square and Harbour City shopping malls in Hong Kong posted gains as Chinese tourists continued spending in the city even as the nation’s economy slows. The developer’s earnings were partly offset by lower home sales profit booked at projects in Chinese cities including Chengdu and Suzhou.

Shares of Wharf, controlled by the family of billionaire Chairman Peter Woo, declined 1.6 percent to HK$65.55 at the midday trading break in Hong Kong before earnings were announced. They have gained 8.2 percent this year compared with the 7.8 percent decline in the nine-member Hang Seng Property Index of which Wharf is a member.

Profit from property development fell to HK$922 million from HK$3.43 billion, Wharf said.

Operating profit from rental income rose 12 percent to HK$4.56 billion, with contributions from Harbour City and Times Square malls gaining 17 percent and 6 percent respectively, the company said.

Retail rents in Hong Kong will post their first annual decline since 2008 this year as a pledge by the Chinese government to limit additional stimulus adds to the risk of a deeper economic slowdown, property broker Cushman & Wakefield Inc. said in a July report.

Wharf will pay an interim dividend of 50 Hong Kong cents, compared with 45 Hong Kong cents a year earlier.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kelvin Wong in Hong Kong at kwong40@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andreea Papuc at apapuc1@bloomberg.net

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