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Stocks

Swire Pacific slides on lackluster underlying profit

HONG KONG -- Swire Pacific shares lost ground here Thursday after the Hong Kong conglomerate turned in an earnings report for the fiscal year ended Dec. 31 that revealed muted growth in underlying profit.

     The stock ended down 0.06% at 79.85 Hong Kong dollars despite inching up to HK$80.80 -- an approximately two-month high -- during morning trading.

     Things went south after the company released its fiscal 2015 earnings during the noon break. Net profit soared 21% to HK$13.42 billion ($1.72 billion). However, underlying profit, which adjusts for factors such as fluctuating appraisal values for properties, only inched up 2% to HK$9.89 billion. The real estate business run by unit Swire Properties accounted for 70% of the core profit due to robust luxury home sales and lease revenues from offices and commercial facilities.

     Sales declined 1% to HK$60.88 billion. Carrier Cathay Pacific Airways helped lift profit by a large margin in the aviation business, and the beverages segment gained steam. However, the marine service division sank into the red amid the oil price slide. Profit in the trading and industrial division also decreased sharply.

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