Half-year pre-tax profit falls 36% despite operational earnings up 15%

Developer and shopping centre giant Westfield Group has reported a 36% profit slump in its half-year results, as the credit crunch drives down property revaluations.

The Sydney-based Australian firm posted pre-tax profit of A$1.34bn (£623m) for the six months to 30 June 2008, compared with A$2.08bn (£972m) for the same period last year. Total income dropped 32% to A$2.02bn (£934m).

However, the company's operational earnings in the first half rose 15% to A$928m (£433m).

The group said it was well positioned to deliver sustainable long-term growth because of its financial position, high occupancy levels and long-term contracts.

Group managing directors Peter Lowy and Steven Lowy said: “We are pleased with the performance of the business in what is a challenging environment.

“Our focus on the management and redevelopment of, and investment in, our high-quality global portfolio together with the capital management and portfolio initiatives transacted over the last few years has ensured the group is in a strong position to continue to deliver growth.”

At 30 June, Westfield had 11 major projects under way with an estimated total value of A$8.3bn (£3.9bn), of which the company's share was A$6.7bn (£3.1bn).

The firm said it will complete five projects in the second half of the year, including the Westfield London mall that is due to open in the UK capital's Shepherd's Bush area on 30 October.