MUMBAI DLF Ltd(DLF.NS), India's biggest listed real-estate developer, reported a 24 percent rise in quarterly profit, helped by a surge in income from commercial rental business even as demand for residential property remained weak.
The company's net debt fell to 214.11 billion rupees ($3.14 billion) at end-December from 225.20 billion rupees it reported in the preceding quarter, New Delhi-based DLF said in a statement issued late on Tuesday.
DLF's net profit in the October-December quarter was at 1.64 billion rupees ($24.03 million), up from 1.32 billion rupees in the year-ago period. Total income in the quarter rose 43.3 percent to 29.81 billion rupees.
The company said the residential property market continued to be soft, and the developer was able to sell in its existing projects at a slower pace.
"Once the GDP (gross domestic product) starts to grow at a higher rate and the sentiment improves, absorption shall automatically improve," DLF said, referring to the economic growth in Asia's third-largest economy.
Rising income levels, increasing urbanisation, lower mortgage interest rates over the past year and easier capital regulations for loans to mid-segment home buyers are expected to drive demand for housing units in India.
The world's second-most populous nation will need 110 million new houses by 2022, consultant KPMG forecasts, as it tries to fulfil Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ambitious plan of providing housing for all.
DLF shares were up more than 2 percent in morning trade on Wednesday at 96 rupees, while the broader Mumbai market index .NSEI was down 0.7 percent.
($1 = 68.2350 Indian rupees)
(Reporting by Sumeet Chatterjee; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)
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