EcoFirst 2QFY19 earnings plunge 86.3% to RM4.1m

By FARA AISYAH / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS

EcoFirst Consolidated Bhd’s net profit for the second quarter ended Nov 30, 2018 (2QFY19), plunged 86.29% year-on-year (YoY) to RM4.06 million due to the absence of a one-off gain from an asset disposal a year ago.

In an exchange filing last week, the property group said the higher profit recorded in 2QFY18 included RM28.4 million of gains from the compulsory acquisition of land for the Sungai Besi-Ulu Kelang Elevated Expressway.

However, EcoFirst’s revenue for the three months increased 41.7% YoY to RM57.29 million on progress of its RM606.8 million Liberty project at Ampang Ukay, which also boosted its core operating income.

The group added that excluding gains from the compulsory acquisition, it posted a 14% rise in core operating income to RM14.5 million in the first six months, against RM12.7 million in 1HFY18.

“The increase in our core operating income reflects our improving ability to generate organic growth.

“Liberty is progressing well according to schedule and we’re on track to meet its full completion in November 2019,” EcoFirst group CEO Datuk Tiong Kwing Hee (picture) said in a statement.

Currently, Liberty is 96% sold, demonstrating the group’s ability to create the right product at the right time to meet market demand.

EcoFirst is working on preparations for the Phase 2 of Ampang Ukay in Selangor, which will offer excellent value with larger living spaces for growing families with children.

The board expects Phase 2 to build on the success of Phase 1, and it is targeted to be launched soon pending approval from the authorities.

Meanwhile, the developer said its South City Plaza Mall in Selangor is expected to continue contributing rental income to the group.

With the upcoming Seri Kembangan MRT (mass rapid transit) station, the board expects to see a boost in vibrancy and visitor footfall at the mall, it added.

EcoFirst is also expanding its development activities beyond Ampang Ukay with a joint venture with Penangbased Lone Pine Group of Cos, which developed the awardwinning One Tanjong luxury seafront condominium in Tanjung Bungah.

“While Ampang Ukay will remain the prime mover in EcoFirst’s growth over the long term, our strategy is to partner reputable and well-known brands such as Lone Pine Group for more impact over the short and medium term.

“We are assessing a number of other projects in the Klang Valley that will boost EcoFirst’s bottom line in the next two to three years,” Tiong said, adding that the group would make necessary announcement once the deals are concluded in accordance to the Bursa Malaysia listing guidelines.

In December 2018, EcoFirst proposed to acquire a 70% stake in Lone Pine Group’s Geo Valley Sdn Bhd, which is developing a RM1.25 billion mixed residential and commercial project in Paya Terubong, Penang.