KUALA LUMPUR (March 26): Eco World International Bhd’s (EWI) net profit for the first quarter ended Jan 31 slumped by 95.61% in the absence of higher sales registered a year prior.

Net profit for the quarter amounted to RM5.19 million against RM118.29 million in the same quarter last year, the property developer said in a bourse filing.

In 1Q19, it saw a higher recognition of revenue and profit from its joint venture projects in the UK following the completion and handover of a greater number of units to customers.

EWI recorded revenue of RM492.69 million from its JV projects in 1QFY2020 versus RM852.28 million in the corresponding quarter last year. Its effective share of revenue from the JV projects amounted to RM358.72 million against RM629.95 million in 1QFY19.

Earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter dropped to 0.22 sen, from 0.95 sen previously.

The group said it netted RM314 million in property sales in the first quarter against RM120 million in 1QFY19 due to a recovery in demand for higher-end products in London such as EcoWorld-Ballymore, which recorded RM246 million worth of sales during the quarter.

Its build-to-rent (BtR) projects in London also saw greater interest from institutional investors and more enquiries were received from homebuyers for its Australian projects.

EWI has set an interim sales target of RM2.2 billion for FY2020.

“This target will be revisited once efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 by governments around the world succeed in flattening the curve in the spread of the virus and market conditions begin to normalise,” it said.

EWI said it had completed the last residential block at its London City Island development in November 2019, which was a key driver for 1QFY2020.

As of Jan 31, it had delivered more than 1,200 private units to the development’s purchasers since its maiden completion in 2018.

“The number of deliveries is expected to increase further in the remaining quarters of FY2020, driven mainly by completion of Wardian in London, West Village and Yarra One in Australia. A substantial portion of the Group’s RM4.75 billion effective future revenue is therefore expected to translate into revenue and share of profit in joint ventures in the current financial year,” the group noted.

Shares in EWI closed 11.54% or 4.5 sen higher at 43.5 sen, valuing it at RM1.04 billion.

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