Friday, October 31, 2008

Boon Lay MRT Extension To Open On Feb28

Source : The Business Times, October 31, 2008

THE Boon Lay Extension (BLE) of the East-West Line is expected to begin service on Feb 28, according to the Land Transport Authority (LTA).

The BLE, it said, will help reduce travel time by as much as 15 minutes by offering direct access to the MRT system instead of requiring bus transfers at Boon Lay station.

It will also reduce the current high utilisation rate of Boon Lay bus interchange and Boon Lay MRT station.

'The BLE is part and parcel of the Land Transport Masterplan to double the rail network in 12 years, from now to 2020,' said Raymond Lim, Minister for Transport and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs.

In addition, the LTA announced its revised MRT Operating Performance Standards (OPS), which came into effect yesterday.

For one, LTA has tightened the train passenger load indicator from 1,700 to 1,600 passengers per train, placing a more stringent limit on the number of passengers each train can carry.

Secondly, a new indicator - train headway - has been imposed to ensure that the intervals between trains during the peak periods do not exceed stipulated standards.

For instance, the operator will have to ensure that during lunch time on weekdays, the headways at Raffles Place (all bounds) range from three to four minutes.

Thirdly, the availability targets of key equipment such as lifts and escalators will be raised to minimise downtime.

'These standards are necessary for today's passenger ride, and SMRT has always remained well within these standards,' said Saw Phaik Hwa, president and chief executive officer of SMRT Corporation.

The 3.8km extension will benefit residents in Jurong West Town and those working in Jurong Industrial Estate. It has two stations - Pioneer Station at Jurong West St 63, and Joo Koon Station at Joo Koon Circle.

Wing Tai Q1 Gain Falls 47%; Revenue Up 34%

Source : The Business Times, October 31, 2008

Earnings dragged down by lower contributions from associated, JV firms

WING Tai Holdings yesterday said that its first-quarter profit fell 47 per cent to $32.6 million - from $61.8 million a year ago - as it saw lower profit contributions from associated and joint-venture companies.

Earnings per share fell to 4.13 cents, from 8.58 cents for the corresponding three months in 2007.

Floridian: Wing Tai's first-quarter revenue climbed 34% due mainly to the higher contributions from the development properties division

For the first quarter ended Sept 30, 2008, revenue climbed 34 per cent to $134.3 million, from $100.2 million in the previous corresponding period. This increase is mainly attributable to the higher contributions from the development properties division, Wing Tai said.

Revenue for the current period came largely from the units sold in Helios Residences and The Riverine by the Park in Singapore, and Sering Ukay in Malaysia.

Profits recognised from these projects also contributed to the increase in the group's operating profit from $15 million to $41.1 million, an increase of 174 per cent.

However, Wing Tai's share of profits of associated and joint-venture companies fell by 88 per cent to $7.8 million in Q1 due to the substantially lower profit recognition from the sale of residential units in VisionCrest and USI Holdings.

Looking ahead, Wing Tai said demand for properties is expected to slow down with the slower economic growth and weaker market sentiment. In a filing to the Singapore Exchange, it said: 'The group will continue to monitor the market closely and will exercise prudent management to ride through these difficult times.'

Wing Tai, like many other Singapore developers, has been reluctant to cut selling prices to entice buying - except when it comes to Floridian, its joint-venture project with Far East.

As at end-September, Wing Tai had only soft-launched the high-end Belle Vue, selling six units at a median price of $2,044 per square foot.

As at Sept 30, 2008, Wing Tai's net gearing ratio was 0.4 times and it has no loan maturing in Singapore for the next 12 months, the developer said.

Wing Tai shares gained 5 cents to close at 60 cents yesterday. The stock has lost 77.8 per cent so far this year. The developer has been supporting its share price through its share buyback programme since late last year.

'Since November 2007, a total of 6.96 million shares have been bought back by the company for a total of $11.34 million, or $1.63 a share on average,' Morgan Stanley analysts noted on Oct 24. Management can be expected to continue buying back shares, the analysts said.

Wing Tai has also been steadily increasing its stake in its associate company USI Holdings in the last month or so. Yesterday, Wing Tai said that it has once again increased its shareholding in USI from 34.809 per cent to 34.831 per cent.

CapitaLand Q3 Profit Falls 26% On Slower Home Sales

Source : The Business Times, October 31, 2008

Singapore's largest developer CapitaLand said on Friday that net profit for its third quarter ended September 30, 2008 fell 25.6 per cent to S$419.4 million, from S$563.9 million a year ago.

Revenue in 3Q 2008 was fell to S$597.2 million, down 33.3 per cent from S$895.8 million in 3Q2007. CapitaLand was hit by lower sales revenue from development projects in the core markets.

But the decline in turnover was mitigated by stronger rentals from investment properties and higher fee-based income from real estate investment trusts (Reits) and funds under the group's management, it said.

Earnings for 3Q 2008 were also boosted by gains from the divestment of Capital Tower Beijing in China and 1 George Street in Singapore, as well as the injection of the Raffles City properties in China into the Raffles City China Fund.

CapitaLand's assets under management stood at S$24.8 billion as at 30 September 2008, up 18 per cent compared to the previous quarter.

CapitaLand is well-positioned to ride out the global financial and economic uncertainties, said CapitaLand chairman Richard Hu. 'It has the strong balance sheet, liquidity and diversified sources of funding necessary to act on investment opportunities that will arise in the current capital-constrained environment,' he said.

Chief executive Liew Mun Leong pointed out that the company has strengthened its balance sheet by increasing its cash position to S$4.2 billion.

This strong balance sheet will be particularly useful in the current global financial crisis which has brought down not only Wall Street's blue chip financial institutions but also created in its wake a global recessionary environment,' Mr Liew said. 'With the situation deteriorating rapidly, we are strategically watching the distressed markets, very carefully seeking out opportunities to make the right acquisitions at the right price.'

CapitaLand will continue to seek out opportunities as before, focusing capital and human resources into its existing established sectors of residential, retail, commercial, hospitality, integrated developments and financial services in core markets, he added.

热门地区大型组屋 第三季转售价下滑

Source :《联合早报》October 31, 2008