Stockland says housing market recovery modest; annual profit plunges
SYDNEY Aug 13(Reuters) - Stockland Corp Ltd, Australia's second-largest property group, reported on Tuesday a 79 percent fall in full-year net profit and said the recovery in the country's housing market was likely to be modest and uneven.
Australia's housing market has been recovering with both auction rates and home prices rising, as the central bank cut the cash rate to a record low of 2.5 percent to prepare the economy for life after the mining boom.
But Stockland said business confidence remained low and consumer spending was relatively soft in Australia.
"While the housing market is showing clear signs of improvement, the recovery is likely to be modest and uneven," the company said in a statement.
Net profit in the year ended June 30 fell to A$104.6 million ($95.98 million) from A$487.0 million the year before, largely due to A$355 million impairment in the value of its residential book.
That compared with analyst forecasts of A$491.3 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S data.
The property conglomerate generated around 10.3 percent of its operating profits from residential development for the financial year 2013, while its commercial portfolio, including retail, office and industrial, made up 83.1 percent.
Stockland had said in May it would grow its industrial and retail business, but would exit the office sector gradually.
It also said it expected full-year 2014 earnings per share to be 4-6 percent above 2013, assuming there was no material decline in market conditions. ($1 = 1.0899 Australian dollars) (Reporting By Maggie Lu Yueyang; Editing by Chris Gallagher)
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