Stockland back in black with $298m profit

Property group Stockland has swung back into the black with a $298 million first half net profit.

That compares to a $147 million interim loss a year ago when it was forced into offloading struggling residential and commercial office assets.

Wednesday's result was underpinned by a significant improvement in the performance of its residential business, which was up 39 per cent.

The company said it was on track to achieve the upper end of guidance this year, including five to six per cent earnings per share growth, assuming no material decline in market conditions.

Stockland said its underlying profit - excluding one-off items such as impairments - was up 5.0 per cent to $267 million.

Chief executive Mark Steinert said while the business was well positioned, the group remained conservative in its outlook for the full year due to continuing uncertain economic conditions.

"Economic indicators have been mixed, creating some uncertainty about what we should expect from the market in the second half," he said.

"We also continue to work through impaired projects in our residential business and optimising assets in our industrial portfolio as we position these businesses for stronger future growth.

"In the short to medium term this will constrain our earnings."

Second half earnings would be skewed towards residential and retirement living earnings, he said.

The first half result was driven by an increase in its residential property division's operating profit of 39 per cent to $39 million.

Mr Steinert said it was a good result.

"The operating environment during the half was mixed, with challenges in retail and office markets balanced by a significant improvement in residential," he said.

"Pleasingly Retail, our largest business, continued to prove resilient with our shopping centres achieving a solid result for the period despite soft conditions.

"Our residential business capitalised on the improved housing market with a substantial uplift in sales."

AAP gr/gfr

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