Unitech net falls 28 pct, new projects doing well

NEW DELHI Thu Jun 25, 2009 6:45pm IST

Labourers work at the construction site of a building in Mumbai in this May 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Punit Paranjpe

Labourers work at the construction site of a building in Mumbai in this May 2009 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Punit Paranjpe

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Unitech Ltd, India's No. 2 listed realty firm, reported a 28 percent 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 2-½ months.

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

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

Total income fell 22.5 percent to 33.15 billion rupees 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 2.79 billion rupees, lower than 3.60 billion rupees 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 90.56 billion rupees ($1.9 billion), while cash reserves were at 48.45 billion rupees, 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 percent in 2008.

(For more news on Reuters Money click in.reuters.com/money)

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