Westports posts 9% increase in 1Q net profit, highlights challenging outlook

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KUALA LUMPUR (May 6): Westports Holdings Bhd posted a 9.22% year-on-year increase in net profit to RM152.81 million in its first quarter ended March 31, 2020 (1QFY20), compared with net profit of RM139.90 million a year earlier.

In a bourse filing today, Wesports said the better result was mainly attributed to the implementation of a tariff hike, which began in March 2019.

Quarterly revenue for the group improved 14.03% to RM473.46 million, compared with RM415.18 million a year ago. The group said some of the increase in revenue was attributable to construction activities arising from the development work on a new jetty and CT9 container yard Zone Z.

In terms of container processing volume, Westports said it had handled marginally lower container throughput of 2.52 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) in the period.

In particular, the group faced noticeable reduction in transhipment containers of 8% to 1.58 million TEUs while gateway volume was at 0.94 million TEUs.

Despite lower container volume, Westports said it has invested RM78 million in capital expenditure to enhance its container and conventional operations.

In a separate statement, Westports group managing director Datuk Ruben Emir Gnanalingam has cautioned about the group’s business prospect and expects the major effects of the Covid-19 pandemic to hit the group in April and continue throughout the second quarter of the year.

Ruben said that this is because most countries across the globe have implemented various lockdown arrangements in the second quarter that have severely curtailed economic activities and are bound to impact ports worldwide.

Westports has contributed RM2.6 million for Covid-19-related support, which was mostly allocated towards assisting the frontline healthcare workers with medical equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE) and also towards assisting families.

At the midday break, shares in Westports traded unchanged at RM3.71, giving it a market capitalisation of RM3.41 billion.