Stockland selling poor residential assets

Property group Stockland is offloading unviable residential projects after announcing a $147.1 million interim net loss.

The result for the six months to December 31 is a deterioration from a net profit of $307.6 million in the previous corresponding period.

Managing director Mark Steinert said half of the 13 residential projects slated for wholesale disposal were in Queensland.

"We have seen a slowing across that part of the business," he told AAP.

At a media conference, Mr Steinert said the Australian housing market recovery would be sluggish as consumers remained cautious.

"We still think there will be modest improvement but we're not looking for a significant pick-up in growth," he said, adding the recent Queensland floods had hit sales.

Stockland is releasing an internal strategic review of all operations by mid-May.

Mr Steinert confirmed that 10 per cent of the company's workforce had been retrenched during the past year.

Stockland last December warned investors its underlying earnings would be lower for 2012/13 as it waited for a turnaround in the property market.

Its underlying net profit for the first half, excluding significant items, fell 26 per cent to $255 million.

The disappointing first half result prompted Stockland to downgrade its earnings per security forecast to a drop of between 20 and 25 per cent this financial year.

It had previously forecast a drop of 10-15 per cent.

However, despite the pressure on its earnings, Stockland confirmed it would pay a full year distribution of 24 cents per security.

Stockland's first half distribution was 12 cents a security.

Mr Steinert said the group's retail business, which accounts for 60 per cent of earnings, had performed well.

While Stockland's retail and retirement living businesses were expected to lift earnings this year, returns from its office and industrial portfolios were expected to drop.

Stockland shares were five cents higher at $3.53 at 1148 AEDT.

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