Unitech net falls 28 per cent

Written by Reuters | New Delhi | Updated: Jun 25 2009, 18:15pm hrs
Unitech Ltd, India's No. 2 listed realty firm, reported a 28 per cent fall in full-year profit on lower prices, but said it was seeing a pick up in demand for new residential projects.

The New Delhi-based developer and bigger rival DLF Ltd are focusing on low-cost mass housing projects to prop up volumes and Managing Director Sanjay Chandra said there was good demand.

The company expects to get bookings for 20 million square feet of new development, he said in a statement.

Chandra had said last week Unitech sold about 4,000 houses in the last 2- months.

Shares in Unitech, which has a market value of more than $3 billion, were up 6 per cent at Rs 82.50 by 0624 GMT, outperforming main stock index that was up 0.3 per cent.

Unitech reported a consolidated net profit of Rs 11.98 billion ($247 million) for its financial year ended March, compared with Rs 16.62 billion in the previous year.

Total income fell 22.5 per cent to Rs 33.15 billion from 42.80 billion in the previous year.

The company did not report March quarter results separately, but a Reuters calculation, based on previous three quarterly results reported, showed net profit for the quarter was Rs 2.79 billion, lower than Rs 3.60 billion in the year-ago quarter.

Fourth-quarter profit was, however, higher than 1.36 billion reported for the preceding three months ended December.

Unitech had been hit by sluggish demand and lower prices in the past year amid high interest rates and an economic slowdown.

Its net debt at the end of March stood at Rs 90.56 billion ($1.9 billion), while cash reserves were at Rs 48.45 billion, the company said.

It raised $550 million in the last two months through share and asset sales, and its debt position was comfortable after rescheduling most of its loan, Chandra said last week.

Unitech shares have more than doubled so far this year, after tumbling 92 per cent in 2008.