OOIL more robust than ever despite 2020 profit, revenue declines

HONG KONG's Orient Overseas (International) Limited's (OOIL) 2020 profit declined 33 per cent to US$903 million, drawn on revenues of US$8

28 March 2021 - 19:00
HONG KONG's Orient Overseas (International) Limited's (OOIL) 2020 profit declined 33 per cent to US$903 million, drawn on revenues of US$8.1 billion, which fell 99.8 per cent year on year.

But this precipitous drop was caused by the absence of the 31 per cent profit increase from 2019 disposal of Long Beach Container Terminal of US$1,153.6 million in 2020's financial calculations.

OOIL, its principal holding being the Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL), said that because of this the group's financial position remains one of the most robust in the industry.

'Net cash of $253 million as at 31 December 2020 liquid assets of $3.3 billion as at 31 December 2020,' said the statement accompanying the results.

'The board has recommended the payment of a final dividend of US50.26 cents per ordinary share and a special dividend of US86.6 cents per ordinary share for 2020,' said OOIL.

'Our impressive result for 2020, which includes the highest ever revenue, liftings and profit figures for our core container shipping and logistics business, was achieved in an unprecedented and extremely complicated context,' said OOIL.

'We began 2020 with a relatively optimistic outlook, noting the first stage trade agreement between China and the United States, and the improving trend in the supply and demand balance in our sector. However, very soon, the global consequences of the outbreak of Covid-19 began to be felt.

'Following the initial spread of the virus across the world, market and customer forecasts suggested massive reductions in demand. While demand certainly did fall, it did not fall as dramatically or for as long as had been anticipated,' it said.

In economies such as the United States and Europe by a combination of measures, working from home and governmental subsidies, consumer demand began to improve, said the company.

'In turn, demand for space on our various trade lanes increased dramatically, We continued to benefit from increased co-operation and synergy within Cusco Shipping Holdings, which helped us to handle the challenges of the year. We expanded into new routes, servicing many emerging markets, not least Latin America, and building up our global coverage further.

'We placed orders for twelve 23,000 TEU vessels during 2020, which are scheduled to be delivered during 2023-2024. Not only will these be modern, efficient vessels improving our cost structure and services in the Asia-Europe trade, but also serve as clear evidence of our very successful dual brand strategy,' said the company.

'Looking ahead, we must recognise that the full impact of Covid-19 may not be known for some time and it remains to be seen how supply chains will evolve after the challenges of 2020,' said OOIL.

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