Aspen interim chief executive Hugh Martin. Picture: Ian Munro/The West Australian.
Aspen interim chief executive Hugh Martin. Picture: Ian Munro/The West Australian.

Property investment and funds management firm Aspen has posted a first-half loss of $18.3 million, down from a profit of $13.7 million in the previous corresponding period.

The loss was attributed to an accounting standards requirement to consolidate Aspen Development Fund No. 1 Limited (ADF) and impairments taken against several development asset exposures.

However the company said its "core operating profit after tax" was up 38.9 per cent to $10.4 million.

Aspen confirmed full year guidance for core operating earnings of 1.8 cents per share and distributions of 1.5 cents per share.

Interim chief executive Hugh Martin said while further impairment had seen a necessary but disappointing impact on statutory profit, underlying performance had been strong.

"The last six months has been an extremely active period in the history of Aspen so it is pleasing to report that we have made significant inroads into executing our strategic plan articulated at the Annual General Meeting," he said.

"We are committed to transforming the company by simplifying the business and de-risking the balance sheet and earnings, through a capital raising in conjunction with a non-core asset disposal programme, debt reduction strategy and overhead rationalisation.

"We are making progress in this regard on all fronts - raising $101 million under an entitlement offer, completion of a number of non-core asset disposals, the commencement of cost cutting and an increase in operating efficiency.

"While we are pleased with our progress to date, we remain cautious on the timing of the full exit from the non-core business sectors.

"Our core operating business is on track with the core property portfolio showing improved key metrics and the funds management business being on target, with net funds inflow up 8.4 per cent on the corresponding period last year."

Aspen said it today paid a distribution of 0.75 cents per share to shareholders for the period ended December 31.

Shares in the company were off half a cent, or 2.17 per cent, to 22.5 cents.

The West Australian

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