Stockland FY profit slides

Property group confident of FY14 earnings despite taking a hit to profit in past year due to $355m impairment on resididential book.

Stockland (SGP) is confident its earnings will improve in the year ahead, buoyed by increased income from new retail, residential and retirement living projects, after posting a marked decline in full-year net and statutory profit.

In the year to June 30, Stockland posted a statutory profit of $104.6 million, a 79% decline on the $487 million recorded in the previous year.

The result was heavily skewed by a previously disclosed $355 million impairment in the value of the Stockland's residential book.

Underlying profit for the year was $494.8 million, a 27% decline on $676.1 million recorded in 2012.

Analysts polled on Bloomberg were expecting $490.9 million on average.

Revenue in the same period was $1.73 billion, a sharp decline on the $2.03 billion recorded in the previous year.

The group announced a final dividend of 12 cents, and a total dividend of 24 cents, unchanged from the previous year.

"Our decision to hold our distribution at 24 cents per share, despite being outside our target payout ratio, demonstrates our confidence that earnings should continue to improve from FY14," Stockland chief executive officer Mark Steinert said.

The group said it was targeting earnings in 2014 of between 4 and 6 per cents, assuming no material decline in market conditions.

Mr Steinert said the group had been focused on reducing costs during the year, in a bid to combat weakness in the housing market.

"This has been a challenging year and we have responded with a number of important strategic decisions that position our business for stronger future returns," he said.

"We significantly restructured the business to reduce costs and improve core processes and skill sharing."

Mr Steinert said the company continued to face difficult conditions due to weak consumer confidence.

"In Australia business confidence remains low and consumer spending is relatively soft as households continue to de-leverage," the company said in its statement.

"We expect consumer sentiment will remain relatively subdued, however we do anticipate continued moderate economic growth."

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