HK Land reduces financing charges

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HONGKONG LAND, the investment property company that recently transferred its primary stock exchange listing from Hong Kong to London and is reported to be seeking investments in the UK property market, has announced a fall in financing charges reflecting the increasing strength of its balance sheet.

The figure of dollars 8.2m for the half-year to 30 June is down from dollars 20m in the corresponding period last year. Gearing at the end of 1991 was 8 per cent.

Martin Henderson, finance director of Matheson & Co, which along with Hongkong Land is part of the Jardine Matheson family of companies, said the improvement was partly due to the dollars 487m sale of Nine Queen's Road Central, a 362,000 sq ft Hong Kong office and retail investment property.

Hongkong Land has already received dollars 147m in cash deposits and continues to be entitled to receive rents until completion in June 1993.

Pre-tax profit for the first half rose 5.8 per cent from pounds 169.6m to pounds 179.5m. Net income from properties, however, fell slightly from dollars 195.1m to dollars 194.3m.

Simon Keswick, chairman, said: 'Although open market rentals in Hong Kong are again showing some increase, the effect of the group's three-year rent review cycle means that the profit growth in the full year is unlikely to be markedly different from that in the first six months.'

Earnings per share rose from 5.75c to 5.84c. The interim dividend is lifted from 2.85c to 3c.

The shares fell 3p to 105p.

John Swire & Sons, the Hong Kong trading company, reported pre-tax profit sharply higher at pounds 240m for the six months to 30 June.

The figure compares with pounds 178m for the corresponding period last year.