PLUS records a 57% rise in operating profit


PLUS Expressways Bhd's revenue and operating profits increased 36% and 57% respectively in the financial year ended Dec 31, 2002, the company said in a statement. 

It attributed the improvement in the revenue to RM1.7bil last year from RM1.2bil previously to year-on-year traffic growth of 2.3% and the 10% toll rate increase, which came into effect in January 2002. 

The toll compensation arrangement between the government and Projek Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan Bhd, a wholly owned subsidiary of the company, also contributed to the higher turnover, the company said. “Excluding the one-time exceptional items, PLUS posted a pre-tax profit of RM735mil last year against RM28mil in 2001,'' the company said. 

Besides the increase in toll revenue, a major contributor to the group's improved earnings was the lower financing costs resulting from the completion of the debt restructuring and refinancing schemes implemented in 2002. “The results for 2002 were in line with the forecast as set out in PLUS' listing prospectus.  

“Profit before exceptional items was RM21mil or 3% better than the forecast of RM714mil,'' PLUS said. 

The group's shareholders' funds have improved significantly to RM2.5bil as at Dec 31, 2002 from RM100mil as at Dec 31, 2001 a year ago. 

“We are currently looking for opportunities available to us to leverage on PLUS' expertise in operating and maintaining expressways.  

“It is still early too highlights any details, but we are mindful that any investment we make must be value-enhancing to our shareholders,'' its chairman Tan Sri Mohd Sheriff Kassim said. 

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