Sun Hung Kai H1 underlying profit falls 7.5 pct, in line with estimates

HONG KONG Fri Feb 28, 2014 3:44am EST

HONG KONG Feb 28 (Reuters) - Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd , Asia's most valuable developer, posted a 7.5 percent drop in underlying profit for its fiscal first half as it offered steep price cuts to attract buyers after government tightening measures took a toll.

Underlying profit for the fiscal first half ending December 2013 totaled HK$10.64 billion ($137.11 billion), down from HK$11.5 billion a year earlier, the developer said in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange on Friday.

A Reuters poll of five analysts had forecast an underlying profit of HK$10.27 billion for the six months ended December.

The half-year profit was at its lowest since the first half of 2010.

Sun Hung Kai, whose billionaire co-chairmen are facing charges in an alleged bribery case, recorded HK$11.8 billion in contract sales for the first half of 2014, 62 percent of its annual sales target of HK$19 billion, according to BNP Paribas.

Hong Kong's property sales fell by more than a third last year to a 17-year low as sales tax increases turned off buyers in one of the world's most expensive cities.

($1 = 7.7601 Hong Kong dollars)

(Reporting By Yimou Lee; Editing by Matt Driskill)