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Wharf logs 26% jump in H1'17 attributable profit, reveals demerger plans

For the first half of 2017, Wharf (Holdings) Ltd. and its subsidiaries saw a 26% uptick in its profit attributable to HK$8.44 billion from HK$6.73 billion in the year-ago period.

The Hong Kong-listed group's core profit during the comparable period also rose by 22% to HK$7.27 billion from the HK$5.97 billion recorded in first-half 2016, with its properties in China and Hong Kong logging 75% and 17% year-over-year increases in contributions, respectively.

Wharf's earnings per share, meanwhile, grew to HK$2.78 from HK$2.22.

Consolidated operating profit also firmed in the six months ended June 30, marking a 6% year-over-year increase to HK$8.55 billion, while consolidated revenue eased by 15% to HK$17.06 billion.

The conglomerate, as of June 30, estimated its net debt at HK$21.43 billion, 10% lower than the HK$23.84 billion announced at 2016-end.

Wharf also announced that shareholders on record as of Aug. 25 will receive an increased first interim dividend of 64 cents per share on Sept. 12, up from the 58 cents paid out in the year-ago period.

Additionally, the company said it already secured the Hong Kong bourse's approval for its demerger with its wholly owned subsidiary, Wharf Real Estate Investment Co. Ltd. Preparations are underway for a separate listing of the subsidiary, which will focus on investments in Hong Kong properties.

The group also provided an update on its planned departure from the communications, media and entertainment segment of its business operations. In its earnings release, it indicated that the completion of the exit is expected by October.