CHEUNG KONG INFRASTRUCTURE
INTERIM REPORT FOR 1999
19 August, 1999 -- Hong Kong
We are pleased to report that Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings Limited ("CKI") reported healthy earnings growth in the first half of 1999. Net profit for the first six months ended 30th June, 1999 reached HK$1,358 million, 10 per cent. over that of the same period last year. Earnings per share were HK$0.6, up 10 per cent.
The Board of Directors has declared an interim dividend for 1999 of HK$0.13 per share (HK$0.12 per share in 1998). The interim dividend will be paid on Tuesday, 12th October, 1999 to shareholders whose names appear on the Register of Members on Monday, 11th October, 1999.
Highlights in the first half are summarised as follows:
- High growth of 33 per cent. in profit contribution was
reported in our Transportation businesses. Our toll roads
in China continued to produce a steady operational performance.
During the first half, we made an investment in Hong Kong's
infrastructure sector by acquiring 50 per cent. of the rail
section of the Eastern Harbour Crossing.
- Accounting for 59 per cent. of the Group's profit contribution, the Energy businesses have remained the largest profit contributor. This core business reported a growth in profit contribution of 3 per cent. over the same period last year, with Hongkong Electric Holdings Limited ("Hongkong Electric") and power plants in China maintaining stable operating results. We have increased our shareholding of Hongkong Electric to 36.78 per cent. by taking the scrip option for the 1998 final dividend in June this year, reflecting our confidence in the outlook for Hongkong Electric.
- In the face of the economic slowdown in Hong Kong, the profit contribution of CKI Materials declined 9 per cent. in the first half. However, our continued progress in cost control and productivity has maintained our competitive position.
- In terms of profit contribution, Hong Kong remained the most dominant market in the first half, accounting for 75 per cent. The balance of 25 per cent. came from our projects in China.
Our financial position has remained strong, with substantial financing capacity. As at the end of June 1999, the Group's net debt to equity ratio was 5.2 per cent., with cash on hand of HK$2 billion and debt of HK$3.1 billion.
The increase in government spending in China's infrastructure sector continues unabated, and has been one of the major drivers of the country's strong economic growth. With an infrastructure portfolio totaling HK$10 billion, CKI is positioned to benefit from the robust activities in the infrastructure sector. We remain committed to further growth in China, and are optimistic that our portfolio will continue to expand given the numerous new projects currently under negotiation.
The majority of our projects in China are operational, with several more becoming operational in the coming months including the Shantou Cement Grinding Plant, Zhuhai Power Plant and the entire section of the Guangzhou East South West Ring Road. Our joint ventures in China have concluded Renminbi financings totaling over RMB$800 million during 1999. The availability of Renminbi borrowing will strengthen China's investment environment and we will actively pursue this financing channel in future projects.
Our investment in the rail section of the Eastern Harbour Crossing is one of our many initiatives in infrastructure development in Hong Kong. As the Hong Kong government is studying the possibilities of privatisation, corporatisation and opening up of numerous infrastructure sectors, we believe there will be more investment opportunities for CKI in the future. The commencement of large infrastructure projects in the near future - for example, the West Rail - should benefit the sales volume of CKI Materials.
In July 1999, the acquisition of a 19.97 per cent. in Envestra Limited, Australia's largest and listed natural gas distribution company represented two important milestones. This expansion represents CKI's first investment in Australia as well as an important step in the natural gas business. We would like to emphasise the significance of this acquisition as geographical expansion and industry diversification will be an important avenue for growth for CKI going forward. While we remain committed to our major markets of Hong Kong and the Mainland and the three core industries of infrastructure materials, energy and transportation, we are actively exploring investment opportunities in other countries and industries. Australia and natural gas are only two examples of our ongoing effort.
We are confident about the Group's continued growth, driven by the internal growth of the core operations and new project opportunities in Hong Kong, the Mainland and other parts of the world. With a strong financial position, we are well positioned to capture suitable investment opportunities.
I would like to thank the Board of Directors and all employees for their support and hard work.
Li Tzar Kuoi, Victor
Hong Kong, 19th August, 1999
PURCHASE, SALE OR REDEMPTION OF SHARES
The Company has not redeemed any of its shares during the six months ended 30th June, 1999. Neither the Company nor any of its subsidiaries has purchased or sold any of the Company's shares during this period.
The Group is aware of the importance of a Year 2000 compliance programme which is targeted to ensure all major systems, computer applications, software and hardware devices owned or developed by the Group will accurately calculate date data prior to, through and beyond year 2000.
A central programme office has been established by the Group in 1997 to monitor the Year 2000 compliance programme and to devise and implement remedial and contingency plans. Progress reports of the Year 2000 compliance programme have been submitted to the Executive Committee by the central programme office on a regular basis.
The Group (including the Company and its subsidiaries) has completed on schedule its Year 2000 compliance programme. All of the critical systems of the Group are Year 2000 compliant as at 30th June, 1999. Notwithstanding the completion of our Year 2000 compliance programme, the Group relies upon and interfaces with systems of parties such as suppliers, customers, business partners, operators and service providers. The Group has been actively assessing the commitment of such parties in achieving Year 2000 compliance. Disruption to the Group's business operations may result due to the non-compliance of the systems of such parties.
Extensive contingency plans have been prepared by the Group with a view to responding to any interruption in a speedy and organised manner. These plans include measures mitigating the effects of any future disruption to critical business systems and business resumption contingency plans to address the perceived risks associated with the Year 2000 issue. Contingency measures are being regularly reviewed.
The Year 2000 readiness programme of the associated Hongkong Electric has been completed on schedule by 30th June, 1999, and contingency plans have been established to minimise potential risks arising from unexpected circumstances.
As regards CKI's investment projects in China, the responsibility to resolve Year 2000 compliance rests with the respective joint venture companies and their local operators. Despite it being their own responsibility to resolve any Year 2000 issue, the Group has been closely monitoring their progress and working actively with them in resolving the issue. Contingency plans have been established by the joint ventures to address and mitigate the risks relating to the Year 2000 issue.
Total budget costs for the Year 2000 compliance programme are estimated to be HK$16 million, of which HK$12 million was incurred and another HK$2 million was committed as at 30th June, 1999. Most of these costs have been recognised as expenses.
CONSOLIDATED PROFIT AND LOSS ACCOUNT
for the six months ended 30th June 1999
The unaudited consolidated profit and loss account for the six months ended 30th June 1999 and the comparisons with last year are set out below:
|1,971||Share of results of associated companies||763||754|
|33||Share of results of jointly controlled entities||19||15|
|3,126||Profit before taxation||1,448||1,326|
|2,853||Profit after taxation||1,358||1,231|
|2,855||Profit attributable to shareholders||1,358||1,231|
|1,998||Profit for the period retained||1,065||960|
|$1.27||Earnings per share||
|$0.38||Dividends per share||$0.13||$0.12|
|Turnover represents net sales from infrastructure materials businesses, return on investments and interest income received and receivable from infrastructure project investments, net of withholding tax, where applicable.|
(a) Hong Kong profits tax is provided for at the rate of 16 per cent. (1998: 16 per cent.) on the estimated assessable profits for the period less available tax relief for losses brought forward.
(b) Tax deferred or accelerated by the effects of timing differences is provided, using the liability method, to the extent that it is probable that a liability or an asset will crystallise in the foreseeable future.
|3.||Earnings per share|
|The calculation of earnings per share is based on the profit attributable to shareholders of HK$1,358 million (1998: HK$1,231 million) and on 2,254,209,945 shares (1998: 2,254,209,945 shares) in issue during the period.|
|Certain comparative figures have been reclassified to conform with the current period's presentation.|
CHEUNG KONG INFRASTRUCTURE HOLDINGS LIMITED
NOTICE OF PAYMENT
OF INTERIM DIVIDEND, 1999
The Board of Directors of Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings Limited
announces that the Group's unaudited consolidated profit attributable
to shareholders for the six months ended 30th June, 1999 amounted to
The Register of Members of the Company will be closed from Monday, 4th October, 1999 to Monday, 11th October, 1999, both days inclusive, during which period no transfer of shares will be effected. In order to qualify for the interim dividend, all share certificates with completed transfer forms either overleaf or separately, must be lodged with the Company's Branch Share Registrars, Central Registration Hong Kong Limited, 17th Floor, Hopewell Centre, 183 Queen's Road East, Hong Kong, not later than 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, 30th September, 1999.
|By Order of the Board
Hong Kong, 19th August, 1999