Swire Properties Underlying Profit Rises 16% on Rents, Sales

Swire Properties Ltd., the biggest commercial landlord in Hong Kong’s Island East district, said first-half underlying profit rose 16 percent after booking more sales from a luxury apartment project in the city.

Earnings excluding revaluation gains and deferred taxes rose to HK$2.81 billion ($362 million) in the six months ended June 30 from HK$2.44 billion a year earlier, the company said in a statement to Hong Kong’s stock exchange. That compares with a HK$2.95 billion median estimates of five analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News.

The sale of apartments at the luxury Azura project helped boost Swire Properties’ profit as Hong Kong maintains its place as the world’s most expensive city to buy a home on record-low interest rates and a shortage of new supply. Earnings were also supported by rising demand for office space in Island East as companies relocate away from the city’s Central business district to reduce occupancy costs.

“At Island East, rents are expected to remain robust due to high occupancy,” Swire Properties Chairman Christopher Pratt said in today’s statement. Demand for the group’s shopping malls will also stay strong “albeit at a moderate pace than hitherto,” he added.

Shares of Swire Properties have declined 7.9 percent this year, compared with the 0.4 percent drop in the benchmark Hang Seng Index. The stock gained 2.2 percent to HK$23.80 at the noon trading break today, before earnings were announced.

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