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Jardine Matheson Underlying Profit Up 31% on Cars, Hotels

Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd. said underlying profit rose 34 percent, boosted by car sales in Indonesia, residential projects in Singapore and rising demand for its Mandarin Oriental International Ltd.’s hotel rooms.

Underlying profit, or earnings from its ongoing businesses, increased to $1.4 billion from $1 billion a year earlier, it said in a Regulatory News Service statement. Net income surged 78 percent to $3.1 billion from $1.7 billion. The average estimate of four analysts Bloomberg surveyed was $1.4 billion.

“The positive economic environment seen in Asia throughout 2010 underpinned strong performances from most of the group’s businesses,” Chairman Henry Keswick said in the statement. “Growth will be harder to achieve in the current year” with lower contribution from residential sales, he said.

Asian economies led a global recovery last year that’s been restrained by Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis and high U.S. unemployment. Greater China made up 41 percent of Jardine’s underlying profit while Southeast Asia contributed 56 percent, boosted by contributions from its Indonesian auto unit, it said.

The Bermuda-incorporated company, which operates out of Hong Kong, said sales increased 31 percent to $47 billion.

Jardine shares, which trade in Singapore, have climbed 9.1 percent this year. The shares rose 1.5 percent today to close at $48. The Straits Times Index has fallen 4 percent this year.

Indonesian Cars

PT Astra International, Indonesia’s biggest automotive retailer, said 2010 net income jumped 44 percent from a year earlier, beating analysts’ estimates as auto sales gained with the central bank maintaining its benchmark interest rate at a record low and the economy expanded at the fastest pace in six years. Jardine unit Jardine Cycle & Carriage owns 50 percent of Astra, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Hongkong Land Holdings Ltd., a Jardine unit that’s one of the biggest office landlords in the city’s financial hub, said 2010 underlying profit rose 4 percent as it completed two residential projects in Singapore.

While contribution from residential developments at Hongkong Land will be lower in 2011, this year still looks positive, Jardine Managing Director Anthony Nightingale said at a press conference in Hong Kong today. There will be a “gradual increase” in rent from commercial properties in Hong Kong’s Central business district, he added.

Dairy Farm International Holdings Ltd., Hong Kong’s second-biggest retailer, said profit rose 13 percent after sales from hypermarkets in Southeast Asia and its health and beauty chain in China increased.

Jardine recommended a full-year dividend of $1.15 a share, an increase of 28 percent from the previous year.

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