Centurion reports 1H21 net profit tumbled 58 percent on Covid headwinds

Singapore five-dollar note Photo by Leslie Shaffer

Centurion reported Tuesday its first half net profit tumbled 58 percent on-year to S$8.74 million as headwinds from the Covid-19 pandemic pressured occupancy at accommodation assets.

Revenue for the January-to-June period slipped 3 percent on-year to S$64.73 million, the company said in a filing to SGX.

The purpose-built workers accommodation (PBWA) segment posted revenue improved 7 percent on-year in the first half to S$48.5 million.

“Lower occupancy in Singapore from the restricted inflow of migrant workers and availability of interim alternative housing to manage Covid-19 risks was mitigated by stable occupancy in Malaysia,” Centurion said.

Excluding three operational quick build dormitories (QBD), average financial occupancy for Singapore PBWA slipped to 82 percent in the first half from 99 percent in the year-ago period, while Malaysia’s average strengthened to 88 percent from 80 percent in the year-earlier period, the filing said.

Malaysia PBWA saw stronger demand amid increasing pressure on employers to improve living conditions for migrant workers, the filng said.

Student accommodation

For the purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) segment, revenue for the fist half fell 25 percent on-year to S$15.7 million as bookings and financial occupancy in Australia and the U.K. were affected by travel restrictions and by universities delivering some courses online, Centurion said.

The average financial occupancy for U.K. PBSA fell to 66 percent in the first half from 74 percent in the year-ago period, Centurion said, noting for the upcoming academic year, it has pre-leased more than half its bed capacity.

In addition, Centurion posted a fair value loss of S$14.5 million based on an internal assessment of its investment properties due to the pandemic impact.

Looking ahead, the company said it is still in talks with the Singapore government about future dormitory specifications for better living standards and public health needs, and is also working with Peninsular Malaysia’s Department of Labour on certifying its properties.

The outlook was cautiously optimistic.

“As business and travel activities resume, the occupancy levels in the group’s strategically located assets are expected to improve as well. Nonetheless, the group will continue to prudently enlarge its portfolio and expand its revenue streams strategically and where sensible,” Centurion said.

Centurion’s portfolio has 35 accommodation assets as of end-June, with locations across Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, South Korea, the U.K. and the U.S.