CapitaLand eyes China, Vietnam after 1Q bounce

SINGAPORE: Southeast Asia's biggest property developer, CapitaLand said on April 16 it will seek more opportunities in China and Vietnam after its 1Q net profit more than doubled.

Home prices in China, Hong Kong and Singapore have risen sharply over the past year, sparking fears of property bubbles in some Asian cities. But CapitaLand said it was confident strong economic growth would lend support to regional property prices.

"CapitaLand remains confident of Asia's long-term growth potential and is well-positioned to ride on the recovery of real estate markets," chairman Richard Hu said in a statement.

"We will continue to deploy funds to our businesses in China and Vietnam, and the serviced residence and integrated shopping mall businesses," he added.

The Singapore firm posted net profit of S$115.4 million (RM268.47 million) for 1Q ended March, up 169% from US$42.9 million (RM138.07 million.) a year ago as it sold more homes in Singapore, China and Vietnam.

DBS Vickers analyst Lock Mun Yee said she had a "buy" recommendation on CapitaLand with a target price of S$5.08 because the stock was trading at a large discount to estimated net asset value of S$5.65 a share.

"There are near-term drivers from residential developments and the retail business is doing quite well," she added.

CapitaLand, which is also Asia's second-largest property fund manager after Morgan Stanley, had a cash balance of S$5.7 billion and net debt-to-equity ratio of 0.27 at the end of March 2010.

About 62% of its revenues came from outside Singapore. -- Reuters
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