WBL Corp recently announced 1H '10 earnings of $44.4 million ($40.2 million recurring), up from $12 million (after an $8.8 million non-recurring loss) in 1H '09. The company's prefered measure of earnings is operating PATMI (Profit After Tax and Minority Interests), a measure of recurring income to common stockholders.
One-off gains transpired from the disposal of some buildings under Starsauto/Wisma O’Connor’s /Wearnes Electronics Shenyang (+$4.3 million), the provision and disposal of investments under Property Management Co./ Sanguine Microelectronics/Advance Science Lab (+$0.6 million) and the cessation of Starsauto/Kunming Speedling (+$0.8 million). A planned plant closure related to MFLEX's operations in the US resulted in an asset impairment of $1.5 million.
The property business division was the largest PATMI contributor in 1H '10 ($21.2 million), but 2Q '10 profit from property was just $6.5 million, was fewer units were made available for sale in Shanghai and Suzhou. The Chengdu Orchard Villa which was launched in 1Q 10 saw higher sales.
As we have previously highlighted, the Chinese property market has demonstrated speculative tendencies, especially in tier-one cities like Shanghai (where WBL has a presence), and the Chinese government has clamped down on excessive rises in prices by implementing a series of new property regulations. This has had an impact on WBL's Shanghai property sales, but this may also be due to fewer releases of units in response to the Chinese government's actions. Whatever the reason for the drop-off in property revenue, we are glad that our exposure to Chinese property is via a diversified business like WBL's, whose fortunes are not predicated by a strong property market, and can afford to hold its landbank until market conditions improve.