SYDNEY Feb 12 Stockland Corp Ltd,
Australia's second-largest property group, reported a 5 percent
rise in first-half net profit on Wednesday, supported by
improved sales in residential business.
"The operating environment during the half was mixed, with
challenges in retail and office markets balanced by a
significant improvement in residential," said Stockland chief
executive Mark Steinert in a statement, noting a "substantial
uplift" in residential sales.
Underlying profit in the half-year ended December rose to
A$267 million ($241.14 million)from A$225 million a year ago,
which was just shy of four analysts' average forecasts of
A$271.2 million, according to Reuters calculations.
Net profit rose to A$298 million from a reported loss of
A$147.0 million a year earlier, which was due to asset
Stockland said it was on track to achieve the upper end of
its earnings guidance for the 2014 fiscal year, and expected to
grow earnings per share by 5 percent to 6 percent, assuming no
material decline in market conditions.
Analysts are expecting Stockland to look at acquisition
opportunities, particularly in the residential space due to the
company's lack of apartment development capabilities and
Stockland shares closed at A$3.72 on Tuesday, having gained
8.5 percent for the past year against a 6.0 percent rise in the
($1 = 1.1072 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Maggie Lu Yueyang)