Kerry’s Underlying Profit Rises on Hong Kong Apartment Sales

Kerry Properties Ltd., a Hong Kong-based builder controlled by the family of Malaysian billionaire Robert Kuok, said underlying profit for 2010 rose 59 percent after it sold more apartments in Hong Kong.

Earnings excluding gains from property revaluation and deferred taxes rose to HK$3.41 billion ($437 million) from HK$2.14 billion a year earlier, Kerry said in a filing to Hong Kong’s stock exchange today. That compares with the HK$3.2 billion average estimate of 13 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Sales rose to HK$21.2 billion from HK$12.9 billion.

An economic recovery in Hong Kong, near record-low mortgage rates, and an influx of buyers from China boosted real estate values in the city by more than 65 percent since early 2009. Kerry booked profits from apartment sales in projects including the Island Crest and Primrose Hill in Hong Kong and Parkside Residence in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou.

“Hong Kong remains one of the most attractive markets for property investment,” Kerry’s Chairman Kuok Khoon Chen said in today’s statement.

Kerry in August paid HK$1.29 billion in a government land auction for a 77,469-square-foot plot in Hong Kong’s Kowloon Tong district. The per-square-foot price of HK$16,587 was a record for the Kowloon Peninsula.

Hong Kong’s government has imposed additional property transaction taxes, raised down-payment ratios and said it will increase land supply to curb surging home prices.

Kerry shares fell 1.4 percent to HK$37.55 at the 4 p.m. close in Hong Kong, after earnings were announced, bringing its decline this year to 7.3 percent. That compares with the 8.3 percent drop in the Hang Seng Property Index, which tracks Hong Kong’s seven biggest developers and doesn’t include Kerry.

Kerry will pay a final dividend of 52 Hong Kong cents, compared with 40 Hong Kong cents a year earlier.

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