Westports earnings jump to RM155mil in Q4

Westports received the government

KUALA LUMPUR: Westports Holdings Bhd, which saw its net profit rose 16.9% to RM154.99mil in the fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2016, has declared a 6.70 sen dividend per share.

The company’s board of directors has approved a second interim dividend of 6.70 sen per share for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2016 amounting to RM228.47mil to be paid on March 8. The entitlement date for the dividend is on Feb 24.

Westports' revenue in the fourth quarter rose to RM573,26mil from RM477mil. Its earnings per share rose to 4.55 sen during the quarter compared with 3.89 sen a year ago.

For the financial year ended Dec 31, 2016, Westports posted a net profit of RM636.9mil, up 26.1% against  RM504.86mil a year ago. Its revenue rose 21% to RM2.03bil from RM1.68bil previously.

In a statement, Westports said it achieved another milestone by handling a record container volume of 9.95 million TEUs in 2016, which was an improvement of 10% over the previous year’s 9.05m TEUs, which was also a record volume then.

The continued strong growth of transhipment containers underpinned the record-breaking momentum as Westports support, especially, regional trading requirements.

Gateway volume complemented by achieving much-improved growth in the latter part of the year as Westports continued to facilitate domestic economic activities with the volume of laden export containers increasing by 6% in 2016 while laden import containers were growing more moderately by 1%.

Westports accounted for 76% of the total containers that were handled at Port Klang in 2016.

Conventional throughput in 2016 increased by 15% to 11.8 million tonnes as Westports handled a higher volume of dry bulk commodities such as sugar, imported grains and fertiliser

Its chief executive offiver Ruben Emir Gnanalingam said its record breaking financial and operational performance was gratifying, and it reflected the results of the group’s relentless commitment towards accommodating growing requirements from our customers.

“Over the course of 2016, Westports has also benefited from shipping clients’ ad-hoc handling requirements as they introduced larger vessels into their existing container shipping services.

“The record container volume handled and active terminal utilisation of the recently completed Container Terminal 8 (CT8) Phase 1 facilitated the need to commence with CT9 Phase 1 expansion to meet the future requirements of our shipping customers and also raise the overall terminal handling capacity at Port Klang.

“The CT9 Phase 1 expansion will entail the construction of an additional 600-metre wharf and new Terminal Operating Equipment such as Ship-To-Shore Cranes and Rubber Tyred Gantry Cranes,” he said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Wesports expect to have a “moderate growth in container throughput in 2017” as compared to growth recorded in 2016.

The second phase of Container Terminal 8, consisting of a 300-metre wharf and supporting terminal operating equipment and facilities are expected to be operational by the middle of 2017.

“The handling capacity will increase to 12.5 million TEUs by the middle of 2017. We have commenced the first phase of Container Terminal 9, consisting of 600-metre wharf with expected completion by December 2017,” Westports said in a note accompanying its financial results on Bursa Malaysia.

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