(Adds executive comment, details on contracted sales targets)
HONG KONG, March 29 (Reuters) - China’s Evergrande Real Estate Group Ltd on Tuesday reported a 9 percent decline in 2015 core profit, which excludes revaluation gains, but beat analyst estimates with the help of record home sales.
The country’s second-largest property developer by sales said core profit was 11 billion yuan ($1.69 billion), below the 12.1 billion it recorded the previous year but above an 8.9 billion yuan average of 18 analyst estimates according to Thomson Reuters SmartEstimate.
Evergrande said its regional project layouts, improved decorations and facilities, and opportunistic marketing helped it beat its targets.
In November, it raised its full-year contracted sales target by 20 percent to 180 billion yuan after exceeding its initial target in the first ten months. By the end of the year, it had recorded 201.34 billion in contracted sales.
It is targeting 200 billion yuan this year.
“Last year we acquired a lot of new land and new projects increased,” Chairman Hui Ka Yan told journalists. “That means that our judgment for 2016 is that there will be growth.”
Evergrande’s net profit fell 17 percent to 10.5 billion yuan.
Evergrande shares eased 0.83 percent ahead of the results compared with a 0.10 percent gain in the broader Hong Kong market.
$1 = 6.5101 Chinese yuan renminbi Reporting by Clare Baldwin; Editing by Christopher Cushing and David Evans