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FINANCIAL CHRONICLE™ » DAILY CHRONICLE™ » Project delays hurt Access 4Q net profits

Project delays hurt Access 4Q net profits

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Melissa Pereira


Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
The diversified group, Access Engineering PLC (Access), saw its net profit for the quarter ended March 31, 2014 (4Q15) falling by 20 percent year-on-year (yoy) to Rs.675.7 million, the interim financials released to the Colombo Stock Exchange showed.  The performance was weighed down by the group’s construction related segments. The earnings per share (EPS) deteriorated to 66 cents against 74 cents a year ago.  The leading infrastructure developer in the country during the previous regime, Sumal Perera-controlled Access appears to have lost its glory days since the new regime started reviewing all projects to ascertain their transparency.  From Rs.32.10 on December 31, 2014 Access share price has declined by Rs.11.10 (or close to 35 percent) until its last close of Rs.21.   The Group Managing Director, Christopher Joshua attributed the fall in profits to delays in project implementation and not necessarily linked to the regime change.  “The significant delay in the Kadawatha-Nittambuwa road widening project started under the previous government in 2013 has been a major drag on our company,” he said.  Asked if the company is making progress in forging positive relationships with the current regime, Joshua responded positively.  “Construction happens in cycles. So, going forward things will average out,” he added.  Joshua further said his group is not overly leaned towards state-sector projects as they have a well balanced order book with projects both from the private sector as well as the public sector.  “If you look at our order book, 50 percent of our projects are of the private sector and the balance is the public sector,” he remarked.  Meanwhile, for the year ended March 31, 2015 group net profits declined by as much as 20 percent to Rs.2.38 billion. The EPS was Rs.2.37 against Rs.2.83 a year ago.  The top line remained virtually flat at Rs.16.4 billion while the cost of sales rose by 3 percent to Rs. 12.57 billion leaving with a gross profit of Rs.3.86 billion, down 7.7 percent.  Other incomes were up 118 percent to Rs. 190.1 million.  Administrative expenses rose 19 percent to Rs.1.24 billion while other expenses more than doubled to Rs.110 million.  The segmental results showed that the performance of the construction segment and the segment involved in production of construction related material has weakened.  Construction segment net profit declined by 32 percent to Rs. 1.34 billion while the construction material segment’s net profit declined 21 percent to Rs.435.4 million.  The automobile arm, Sathosa Motors PLC saw its net profits edging down to Rs. 278.3 million from Rs.285.8 million last year, and according to Joshua the company underwent an internal restructuring during the financial year.  Access Projects (Private) Limited, the recently acquired related party company made a Rs.155.7 million contribution to the group.  As of March 31, 2015 the Group Chairman, Sumal Perera held 25 percent of the stake in the group being the single largest shareholder.  The state-controlled private sector pension fund, the Employees Provident Fund held 1.54 percent stake of the company being the eleventh largest shareholder. 
Courtesy: Daily Mirror 25 May 2015

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