Fri, May 31, 2019 - Page 12 News List

Continental Holdings aims to bolster its portfolio, earnings

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Continental Holdings Corp (CHC, 欣陸控股) aims to bolster its portfolio and earnings this year after profit increased twofold last year from a year earlier.

The Taipei-based civil construction and real-estate developer last year reported net profit of NT$1.94 billion (US$61.37 million), or earnings per share of NT$2.36, on the back of improved margin performances at subsidiaries Continental Engineering Corp (大陸工程), Continental Development Corp (大陸建設) and HDEC Corp (欣達環工).

The group has proposed distributing a cash dividend of NT$0.9 per share, pending approval from shareholders next month.

CHC chairwoman Nita Ing (殷琪) said she is positive about business growth, with the three subsidiaries having projects on hand.

The group is also to benefit from the sale of stakes in Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (台灣高鐵), where Ing served as chairwoman.

“The sale is financially motivated, without emotion involved,” Ing told reporters.

CHC would keep managing its subsidiaries, plan the group’s strategy and enhance its allocation of resources, she said.

The group in October last year appointed chief financial officer Cindy Chang (張方欣) to be chief executive officer and in January tapped Simon Buttery to be chief executive officer of Continental Engineering, which has a presence in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau and India.

Buttery’s expertise in the construction sector and experience managing multinational teams would prove to be valuable assets, Ing said.

Continental Engineering is to focus on the rail, high-end residential and hospitality sectors, while exploring business opportunities in energy-related projects, Buttery said.

The engineering arm’s backlog in Taiwan was NT$67 billion in the first quarter, up NT$14 billion from a year earlier, he said.

Continental Engineering’s Hong Kong office has won public works contracts, he said.

The unit would continue to explore opportunities, and evaluate the feasibility of entering the tunnel and building sectors in the long term, he added.

The unit’s India office is seeking to complete the Jaipur Metro project by the end of this year, Buttery said.

Continental Development is to shift focus from building upscale apartments to housing for first-time buyers and people with need, company chairman Christopher Chang (張良吉) said.

The strategy comes amid difficulty finding buyers for luxury apartments, he said.

The subsidiary plans to develop a mixed-use complex in Kaohusing with partner Daiwa House of Japan.

It has also made inroads into the US market by investing in a hotel and condominium project in San Francisco and is working on its second project in Kuala Lumpur.

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