HONG KONG -- Hong Kong conglomerate Swire Pacific announced Thursday that it logged a net profit of 7.98 billion Hong Kong dollars ($1.03 billion) for the six months ended June, up 23% from a year earlier. The jump was mainly due to higher profits from its property business and aviation segment.
The company's total revenue increased 5% to HK$31.63 billion. Underlying profit, which adjusts for swings in the valuation of investment properties, soared 12% to HK$4.83 billion.
Within the group, the Hong Kong-listed Swire Properties reported a net profit of HK$8.49 billion, up 32%. Higher rents from office properties in the city and from retail properties in mainland China pushed up earnings. It also benefited from solid sales in a new residential property in Hong Kong. As a result, attributable underlying profit in the group's property segment rose 5% to HK$3.21 billion.
In the aviation segment, affiliate Cathay Pacific Airways, the region's flag carrier, also performed well, supported by lower fuel prices amid the recent decline in global crude oil prices. The airline contributed to the group with a profit of HK$887 million, rocketing from HK$156 million a year earlier.
"The group's results are overall satisfactory," Chairman John Slosar told reporters the same day. He sounded a positive note on the company's property business, saying despite the fall in retail sales in the city due to weak tourism from the mainland, "Our retail properties remain fully let."
The stock prices of Swire Pacific and Swire Properties barely budged Thursday -- with the former slipping 0.8% to HK$90.20 and the latter nudging up 0.4% to HK$22.90 -- as the results were in line with market expectations.
Swire Pacific, one of Hong Kong's leading corporations, is a diversified company that engages not only in property development and aviation but also in beverages, marine services and trading. Its total assets exceeded HK$366 billion as of the end of June.