Chinese developer Country Garden posts record 6-month net profit

HONG KONG, Aug 22 (Reuters) – Country Garden Holdings Co Ltd , China’s top property developer by sales, reported a record high six-month net profit as business in smaller cities continued to boom.

Government curbs to rein in property prices in China have weighed on larger cities, with July showing the slowest growth in home prices since August 2016, although business in smaller centres have remained robust.

Country Garden, which focuses on smaller cities, said its net profit rose 39.2 per cent from a year ago to 7.5 billion yuan over the six months to June, highest ever half-yearly earnings.

The company also saw it core profit, which excludes revaluation gains, jump 35 per cent to 7.2 billion yuan.

Its revenue for the period rose 35.5 per cent to 77.7 billion yuan and it said it expects further growth in the future given a number of pre-sold but unrecognised projects.

Country Garden, which has an internal target to double sales this year to 600 billion yuan, posted 288.9 billion yuan sales for the first six months, more than double year-ago levels. This helped the company climb two notches to the top developer spot.

It did not give details on how much sales came from its $100-billion mega development in Malaysia, Forest City, but said “the project has been well received by overseas enterprises and investors”.

The company has largely halted promoting the project to mainland buyers since earlier this year in response to Beijing’s moves to stop capital flight into offshore investments.

A Country Garden executive recently told Reuters the company would struggle to match 2016 home sales this year at Forest City, despite greater marketing outside the mainland. Forest City accounted for 6 per cent of the group’s contracted sales last year.

Among other Chinese developers, Guangzhou R&F Properties has reported a 22 per cent rise in its first-half core profit to 2.1 billion yuan, while Soho China saw a 565 per cent jump in net profit to 3.98 billion yuan due to higher valuation gains on investment properties.