CDL sells more Singapore properties in Q1 but at lower sales value; shuts 30% of hotels amid Covid-19 lockdowns

Project completion for the Forest Woods condominium remains on schedule.PHOTO: CDL

SINGAPORE – Property developer City Developments Limited (CDL) and its joint-venture associates sold 185 units with total sales value of $278.1 million for its first quarter ended March 31, versus 173 units with sales value of $516.3 million a year ago, CDL said in a business update on Tuesday (May 12).

The lower sales value was due to a majority of residential units sold being mass and mid-market projects such as Piermont Grand, Whistler Grand and The Tapestry. In contrast, CDL said it sold units mainly from ultra-luxury projects such as Boulevard 88 in the first quarter a year ago.

CDL said it expects its sales volume to decline during the circuit breaker period. “Notwithstanding the temporary setback, the group continued to register sales in April for projects such as Amber Park, Boulevard 88, Coco Palms, Piermont Grand, Sengkang Grand Residences, South Beach Residences, The Jovell and The Tapestry,” it said.

Construction works for CDL’s Singapore developments have also been affected, though it noted that the temporary occupation permits (TOPs) for the majority of these projects are expected only in 2022 and 2023, which allows the group sufficient buffer to accommodate the current delay.

It said that project completion for its Forest Woods condominium in Lorong Lew Lian by Q3 2020 remains on schedule as it is already in an advanced stage of construction.

CDL added that it welcomes the move last week by the Government to extend the project completion period (PCP) and the deadlines for additional buyer’s stamp duty (ABSD) on land purchase by six months for property developers affected by disruptions to construction timelines and residential sales.

Outside of Singapore, CDL reported a significant slowdown in new home sales for its launched projects in China, the UK and Australia as local governments imposed lockdowns in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Separately, its global hospitality portfolio, mainly comprising its wholly-owned subsidiary Millennium & Copthorne Hotels, has been “severely impacted by closures following lockdowns imposed by local governments”, CDL said.

As at March 31, about 30 per cent of the group’s 152 hotels globally were temporarily closed.

All 10 of its Singapore hotels remain operational but revenue per available room (RevPAR) declined 28.8 per cent due to lower occupancy.

CDL said its Singapore hotels focused on corporate and public-sector businesses to mitigate the impact on occupancy. Several of its hotels in the Republic are housing those affected by recent events, such as Malaysia’s border closure, or have been designated as venues for people returning from overseas to serve their stay-home notices.

“These initiatives have helped to sustain occupancy rates in Singapore, allowing hotels to maintain a breakeven position in April,” CDL said.

Its Q1 RevPAR for Asia was down 37.2 per cent, the steepest decline among all regions, mainly due to hotels in Beijing, Taipei and Seoul.

As for its investment properties, its Singapore office portfolio had a committed occupancy of 90.9 per cent for the quarter, versus the islandwide occupancy of 89 per cent, CDL said.

In retail, about 80 per cent of its 426 tenants in Singapore are not operating due to “circuit-breaker” measures.

The listed landlord had previously announced additional rebates for June and July, raising its rental relief kitty to $23 million. It added that it would be passing on the full quantum of the government’s property tax rebates to its retail tenants, as well as those in non-residential properties such as offices and industrial buildings.

It has also provided rental rebates to tenants in China and Thailand.

For the first quarter, CDL’s net gearing ratio stood at 44 per cent, with cash reserves of $3.3 billion.

For the $1.8 billion in loans due for the remainder of 2020, the group has refinanced 17 per cent and set aside funds for the repayment of 65 per cent, with the balance of 18 per cent scheduled for renewal in Q3 2020.

CDL shares were trading 0.9 per cent or $0.07 lower at $7.95 as at 9.30am on Tuesday.

“Source:[CDL sells more Singapore properties in Q1 but at lower sales value; shuts 30% of hotels amid Covid-19 lockdowns] © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction”

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