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Announcement:

Moody's comments on Hongkong Land Holdings 2011 results

07 Mar 2012

Hong Kong, March 07, 2012 -- The financial results of Hongkong Land Holdings Ltd (HKLH) for the twelve months ended 31 Dec 2011, were in line with our expectations, and have no immediate impact on HKLH's A3 issuer rating, as well as the A2 issuer and senior unsecured ratings of The Hongkong Land Co Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of HKLH.

The outlook on all the ratings remains stable.

HKLH posted revenue of USD1.2 billion, down 8.7% Y-o-Y due to a drop in residential property sales, which was within our expectations, and largely due to a lower number of residential development projects completed in the year.

After generating revenue of over USD550 million from residential properties in each of the last two years, which were record high levels, this moderation was not unexpected.

On the other hand, we expect the contribution from residential projects to markedly increase in 2013, due to the large pipeline of residential projects scheduled for completion, including four in Singapore alone.

HKLH's China exposure remains at a low level and will not be a concern in the current weak China property market. In 2011, HKLH acquired two pieces of land in China—a USD 600 million piece in Chongqing for residential development, and a USD 450 million piece in Beijing for commercial development. These two projects will support the group's plan to further expand its business in China.

HKLH's Central Portfolio in Hong Kong continues to demonstrate its resilience. Despite softened demand for office space in the final month of 2011, the group's average rent rose to HKD87 per sq.ft in 2011 from HKD 84.3 per sq.ft in 2010, due to limited supply of Grade A office in Hong Kong, particularly in the Central District. Accordingly, its office vacancy rates decreased to 2.0% from 2.9% in 2010, whilst its retail portfolio maintains full occupancy.

Overall, HKLH's commercial portfolio contributed USD673 million of operating profit in 2011, up modestly by 3.7% Y-o-Y, representing close to 80% of the company's operating profit excluding fair value gain. This stable portfolio will continue to support the company's business profile and mitigates any risks associated with its expansion into China.

Profit contributions from HKLH's commercial portfolio in Singapore and Macau also improved from the previous year. In Singapore, the company benefited from a full year of rental contribution from the first two towers of Marina Bay Financial Center, which opened in June 2010. In Macau, contribution was up due to an improvement in occupancy rates at its luxury retail project-One Central- from 81% to 93%, which included increasing contributions from its Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Turnover rents also increased significantly in the project's second full year of operations.

HKLH's credit metrics remain strong and appropriate for its A3 rating, despite lower contributions from its residential properties. Moody's adjusted EBITDA interest coverage and Debt/EBITDA—which excludes fair value gain but include dividends from joint ventures— equaled to 11.0x and 3.7x respectively. Both of these ratios are in line with our projections and remain appropriate for its A3 rating level.

HKLH's liquidity also remains solid with USD1.0 billion in cash and USD1.9 billion in unused committed facilities. These are more than sufficient to cover committed capital expenditures and unpaid land payments of about USD1.3 billion as of 31 December, 2011. Convertible bonds due in 2012 have also been largely converted, with only USD57 million worth of outstanding bonds.

The principal methodology used in rating Hongkong Land Holdings Limited was Moody's Approach for REITs and Other Commercial Property Firms published in July 2010. Please see the Credit Policy page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.

Hongkong Land Co Ltd, incorporated in Hong Kong, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hongkong Land Holdings Ltd, which is a Bermuda-incorporated holding company, engaged in property investment, management, and development.

Hongkong Land Co Ltd holds the group's portfolio of 5 million sq. ft. in prime office and retail space in Hong Kong. HKLH is 50%-owned by Jardine Strategic Holdings Ltd.

Kaven Tsang
Asst Vice President - Analyst
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service Hong Kong Ltd.
24/F One Pacific Place
88 Queensway
Hong Kong
China (Hong Kong S.A.R.)
JOURNALISTS: (852) 3758 -1350
SUBSCRIBERS: (852) 3551-3077

Peter Choy
Associate Managing Director
Corporate Finance Group
JOURNALISTS: (852) 3758 -1350
SUBSCRIBERS: (852) 3551-3077

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service Hong Kong Ltd.
24/F One Pacific Place
88 Queensway
Hong Kong
China (Hong Kong S.A.R.)
JOURNALISTS: (852) 3758 -1350
SUBSCRIBERS: (852) 3551-3077

Moody's comments on Hongkong Land Holdings 2011 results
No Related Data.
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