$12.93m profit for Banyan Tree in 2017

Luxury resort developer is back in black after gains from deconsolidation

One-off gains helped luxury resort developer Banyan Tree Holdings get back in the black for the first time since 2015, when it suffered its worst loss.

Profit came in at $12.93 million for the 12 months to Dec 31, a stark turnaround from the $16.2 million loss in 2016.

Revenue was up 3 per cent to $317.5 million.

The better performance was largely due to a $21.2 million increase in other incomes, mainly gains from the deconsolidation of certain entities after an agreement with China Vanke last August to create Banyan Tree Assets (China) Holdings.

Net profit for the fourth quarter fell 54 per cent to $3.9 million, mostly due to the absence of benefits enjoyed last year from a reclassification in net fair value gain after Thai Wah became the group's associate.

Revenue increased 9 per cent, thanks to the recognition of the sales of 31 units of Cassia Phuket (Phase 2) and higher turnover from its Thailand, Seychelles, Indonesia and Morocco resorts, and partially offset by lower revenue from China and Maldives.

Executive chairman Ho Kwon Ping, in a results briefing yesterday, said he was cheered by the global economic recovery underway.

Overall forward bookings for the first quarter for Banyan Tree's owned hotels is 15 per cent above the same period last year, boosted by strong performances in Thailand.

"We had one or two difficult years, and we think the turnaround is clearly here," Mr Ho said. "We only see positive signs and we intent to capitalise on these as much as possible."

Mr Ho pointed to its strategic partnership inked last year with AccorHotels to develop and manage Banyan Tree branded hotels around the world, saying: "We are discussing about a dozen or so projects with Accor and a few will be announced in the near future."

Banyan Tree announced on Monday that it is offering 40 baht (S$1.68) apiece for the 57.08 million shares - or in aggregate about 34.25 per cent - it does not yet own in its unit Laguna Resorts and Hotels, which mainly operates the integrated resort of Laguna Phuket.

The company has proposed a dividend of one cent a share, its first since its 0.13 cents a share paid out for 2014.

Banyan Tree shares closed one cent lower at 62 cents yesterday.