Plaza Centres plc - Full-Year Results & Dividend Announcement

Plaza Centres plc published its 2007 Preliminary Profits Statement following a Board of Directors’ meeting held on 28 March 2008.

The key highlights are:
• Turnover up 5.4 per cent to €1.6 million;
• Total operating expenses rise 20 per cent to €0.2 million;
• Profit after tax of €0.7 million;
• Shareholders’ funds of €19 million;
• Net dividend of €0.073 per share.

The Directors proposed a gross dividend of €0.1125 per share (€0.0731 per share net of tax) for approval by shareholders at the Annual General Meeting due to be held on 25 April 2008. This represents a 3 per cent increase over last year’s dividend and based on the current market price of €1.703 per share translates into a gross dividend yield of 6.6 per cent (4.3 per cent net of tax). The dividend will be paid on 29 April 2008 to those shareholders as at close of trading on Tuesday 1 April 2008.

During the twelve months ended 31 December 2007, the total revenue generated by Plaza Centres amounted to €1.6 million, an increase of 5.4 per cent from the previous year. The Directors reported that occupancy levels within the complex remain high at 98.3 per cent. Total operating expenses incorporating marketing costs, maintenance costs and administrative expenses rose by 20 per cent to €222,872.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) generated by Plaza Centres in 2007 amounted to €1.4 million (2006: €1.3 million). The charge for depreciation was marginally unchanged at €275,000 giving an operating profit of €1.1 million, 4.4 per cent higher than the previous year. The operating profit margin edged lower but remained above the 69 per cent level.

Net interest receivable increased to €53,366 resulting in a pre-tax profit of €1.2 million, an increase of 6.2 per cent from last year’s record profitability. After deducting taxation of €435,709, the profit for 2007 amounted to €730,778. Earnings per share increased by 3 per cent to €0.0776.

The Company’s total assets as at 31 December 2007 amounted to €24.4 million with shareholders’ funds of €19 million resulting in a net asset value per share of €2.02. Plaza’s profitability ratios improved to record levels in 2007 with a pre-tax return on equity of 6.15 per cent and return on assets of 4.8 per cent.

In the Preliminary Profits Statement, the Directors reported that the new extension of the shopping mall was completed with 7 of the 8 floors already leased out to local and international organizations. This will ensure that the Company maintains a high level of occupancy. The Directors revealed that the lease agreements with the new tenants commence as from 1 April 2008.

The Company has also acquired other properties around the existing complex and has applied to the Malta Environmental and Planning Authority for a full development permit to commence works on the next extension.

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