KUALA LUMPUR (March 25): Eco World International Bhd’s (EWI) net profit jumped by more than 10-fold to RM56.03 million for the first quarter ended Jan 31, 2021, from RM5.19 million a year ago, thanks mainly to profit recognition of the group’s Melbourne project.

Quarterly revenue swelled to RM303.28 million from RM51,000, EWI’s filing to Bursa Malaysia showed.

The group declared an interim dividend of one sen, to be paid on April 28. This is EWI's maiden dividend since its listing in 2017.

EWI said the higher profit was mainly due to the commencement of revenue and profit recognition of Yarra One, following progressive handover of units sold to customers and higher share of results in joint ventures.

The increase in profit was partly offset by the impairment of goodwill in relation to EWI’s investment in a United Kingdom joint venture and West Village project totalling RM9.31 million in the first quarter, it said.

EWI said it delivered RM408 million sales in the first four months of the current financial year.

Sales in the first quarter totalled RM312 million, slightly in excess of RM100 million a month, which is similar to the rate recorded in the previous first quarter.

“The consistency of sales, notwithstanding a third national lockdown imposed in the UK since December 2020, is very encouraging. It clearly demonstrates London’s status as a global city with continued strong overseas demand experienced by our London projects,” said EWI.

“Recovering local demand in Australia also contributed to the positive sales results achieved by the group,” it added.

Going forward, EWI is hopeful that property market conditions in the UK and Australia will improve in the coming quarters following the mass rollout of vaccination programmes against Covid-19.

With regard to construction, EWI said the first build-to-rent residential block of Barking Wharf was completed in November 2020 and handed over.

As work on sites was permitted throughout the recent UK lockdown period, the group is also on track to hand over the three remaining blocks in stages within the current financial year.

Based on current construction programmes, the group also expects the handover of apartment units in Millbrook Park Phase 2 and Embassy Gardens Block A03 to commence in the second half of the year.

“These completions will not only allow revenue recognition but also generate significant cash flows for the group,” it said.

EWI’s share price closed unchanged at 55 sen, valuing the group at RM1.32 billion.

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