Westports sees strong growth on higher container revenue

Group managing director Datuk Ruben Emir Gnanalingam said the group is working on expanding its port capacity in light of the increasing demand.

PETALING JAYA: Westports Holdings Bhd posted a 30% jump in net profit for the fourth quarter ended Dec 31,2020, thanks to higher container revenue and lower operational cost.

Group managing director Datuk Ruben Emir Gnanalingam said the group is working on expanding its port capacity in light of the increasing demand.

He pointed out that in the fourth quarter of 2020, Westports was experiencing “above-average” container yard utilisation and yard congestion, which not only affected the company but also many ports across the globe.

“The global supply chain is adjusting to a combination of factors, such as higher consumer demand for containerised goods in Western economies, lockdowns in various parts of the world at different points in time and a global supply chain partly manned by people implementing Covid-19 precautionary measures, ” he said in a statement yesterday.

He expected that the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic to be felt into 2021 despite the gradual ramp-up in vaccination plans.

“The surge in container throughput in the second quarter and strong demand for container yard space in Q4’20 reinforced the need for Westports to undertake the planned mega Container Terminal (CT) expansion from CT10 to CT17, upon reaching a new concession agreement with the government.

“In 2020, Westports invested and completed container yard Zone Z at CT9 at the cost of RM81mil, ” he said.

Overall, Ruben said Westports invested a total of RM323mil in capital expenditure in 2020.

“These investments will support the long term growth of the company and also Port Klang, ” he added.

For 2021, Westports expected a single-digit container throughput growth.

Westports’ net profit surged to RM163.49mil in Q4’20 from RM125.44mil a year earlier, while its revenue increased 20% to RM541.54mil compared with RM452.82mil previously.

Cumulatively, for the full year, Westports posted a 10.7% jump in net profit to RM654.48mil from RM590.89mil in 2019 on the back of higher revenue of RM1.97bil from RM1.78bil previously.

The company paid its first interim ordinary dividend amounting to RM172.2mil in August 2020. The second interim ordinary dividend of 6.47 sen per share amounting to RM220.6mil is to be paid on March 1,2021.

“The company will revert to a dividend payout ratio of 75% for the financial year ending Dec 31,2021, ” it said.

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