Kuala Lumpur, 24 June 2009 --- The year 2008 is remembered as a period when the entire global financial system was crippled on an unprecedented scale and consumer confidence reaching its lowest ebb during the second half of the year with a resulting negative impact on corporate earnings. Against this backdrop, property companies in the country were also affected by varying degrees.
United Malayan Land Bhd (UMLand or UMLand Group) was also not spared during this economic crisis. UMLand Group revenues declined to RM172.1 million in the financial year ended 2008 compared to RM396.8 million recorded in the previous financial year. The lower contribution from both Township and Niche Development Divisions has negatively impacted the Group’s revenues and earnings. The Group suffered a loss of RM3.5 million compared to FY 2007’s net profits of RM46.6 million.
UMLand held its 48th Annual General Meeting (AGM) at Crowne Plaza Mutiara Kuala Lumpur today. At the AGM, shareholders received the audited financial statements for the financial year ended 31 December 2008.The shareholders also approved the payment of a final dividend of 2.5 sen per ordinary share less 25% income tax for the financial year, which will be paid from the previous years’ retained profits. Consistent with previous years, UMLand continues to reward its’ shareholders, despite difficult times.
Mr Anthony Yap, UMLand’s Group Chief Executive Officer said, “The financial year 2008 has been challenging for the Group.A combination of low consumer sentiment, economic slowdown and volatile market conditions coupled with a rise in the costs of doing business had affected the Group’s overall performance. Taking these challenges in stride, the Group has been reassessing its strategies to mitigate the impact of the global and domestic economic slowdown.Among other pro-active measures, the Group is focusing on its program to dispose of certain non-core development lands in the townships to strategic partners. This strategy will also contribute to UMLand Group’s profits, cash flow and also enhance the values of the townships’ existing development land bank.This exercise has started at Bandar Seri Alam in Johor which is emerging as a major educational hub with recent disposal of land parcels to prominent institutions such as MARACollege, Universiti KL and Universiti Teknologi MARA.
These institutes of higher learning together with the presence of Regency Medical Centre, Eastern District Police Headquarters and TESCO hypermarket will have a positive spin-off on the critical math of the township. Simultaneously, leasing activities at the township are being expanded to include completed stock. To date a total of 324 residential units and medium low-cost shop houses have been tenanted in addition to land leases to Tesco Hypermarket, McDonald’s and Today’s Market.
In the Niche Development Division, the official launch of Suasana Bangsar in July 2008 was well received and physical construction has reached 48% overall. Future projects under the Niche Development Division which are expected to roll out in the next two years include two serviced suites and apartment projects within the Golden Triangle, a mixed use commercial cum residential development in Johor Bahru’s central business district and a luxurious condominium joint venture development with Bolton Berhad in the vicinity of KLCC. These projects will drive the earnings growth of the Group in the next three years.”
Mr Yap also commented, “A re-look at our strategies is essential to cater to current conditions. Our recently announced proposals of joint development in Nusajaya with UEM Land Berhad and an industrial and commercial park in Pulai, Johor with Tradewinds Corporation Berhad augur well for the Group as we are in a good position to take advantage of changes in the market place when opportunities arises. As the current year is expected to be equally challenging UMLand Group will continue to take pro-active steps, such as reviewing existing products, revising the launching schedules of new projects and downsizing new projects, to ensure sustainability and growth of the Group in order to remain resilient in the face of unprecedented challenges ahead”.
On a positive note, UMLand Group posted net profits of RM6.3 million in the first quarter ended 31 March 2009 on the back of RM53 million revenues, an increase of 350% and 4% respectively from the fourth quarter of 2008.
“In line with the improved results, UMLand declared and paid an interim dividend of 2.5 sen per ordinary share lesstax for the financial year ending 2009.”, Mr Yap added.
This press release can be found in UMLand’s announcement made to BursaMalaysia today at www.bursamalaysia.com