Westports 1Q net profit up 13% on container tariff hike

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KUALA LUMPUR (April 26): Westports Holdings Bhd's net profit rose 13% to RM139.9 million for the first quarter ended March 31, 2019 (1QFY19), from RM123.8 million in the same quarter a year ago.

This resulted in higher earnings per share of 4.1 sen versus 3.63 sen in 1QFY18.

In a bourse filing today, the port operator said the higher net profit was attributed to a container tariff hike, effective from March 1, 2019.

Quarterly revenue also gained 7.8% to RM415.19 million from RM385.09 million a year ago, mainly attributed to double-digit growth in container volume and the implementation of container tariff hike since March 1.

On its prospect, Westports said its container throughput is expected to register a single-digit percentage growth rate in 2019.

In a separate statement, Westports group managing director Datuk Ruben Emir Gnanalingam said the port operator enjoyed favourable volume recovery momentum after having transitioned successfully to a new baseline and transhipment volume in the previous year.

"The continued growth at the Intra-Asia segment has further fuelled container volume recovery as Westports achieved an overall container volume growth of 12%, outpacing the industry's average trend on container volume.

"Westports is expecting to achieve higher overall container throughput in 2019 with growth coming from both the gateway and transhipment segments. We are also finalising the planning details for the multi-billion proposed container terminal expansion and would be concluding the necessary detailed studies in the coming quarters.

"The proposed expansion would further strengthen the company and Port Klang's role as the pre-eminent port for the nation's gateway trade and also reinforcing the terminal as one of the main transhipment hubs in the South East Asia region for international container shipping alliances," he said.

At the midday break, Westports dipped 1.1% or 4 sen to RM3.76 with 31,200 shares traded.