Westports Q1 net profit up 9pc on lower box volume, cautious on outlook

MALAYSIA's Westports Holdings Bhd recorded an increase in net profit of 9

07 May 2020 - 19:00

MALAYSIA's Westports Holdings Bhd recorded an increase in net profit of 9.22 per cent year on year to MYR152.81 million (US$35.34 million) for the first quarter ended March 31, 2020, although it handled marginally lower container throughput while it was cautious on the outlook due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Revenue jumped 14.04 per cent year on year from MYR415.19 million to MYR473.47 million, attributed mainly to the implementation of the container tariff hike.

Westports handled marginally lower container throughput of 2.52 million TEU in the first quarter with a noticeable reduction in transshipment containers of 8 per cent to 1.58 million TEU while gateway volume was at 940,000 TEU, reports The Star, Petaling Jaya, Kuala Lumpur.

Despite lower container volume, the group has invested MYR78 million in capital expenditure during the period to enhance its container and conventional operations.

Group managing director Datuk Ruben Emir Gnanalingam, cautioned that while container volume was only slightly lower in the first quarter, he expected major effects of the Covid-19 pandemic to hit Westports in April and continue throughout the second quarter.

'Malaysia, Singapore, South East Asia and countries from India to the European Union and North America, have various lockdown arrangements or movement restrictions in the second quarter that would have severely curtailed economic activities from consumption to investments to production related activities.

'This reduction in consumption and capital expenditure at this scale is bound to have an impact on all ports worldwide.

'While we are hopeful for some recovery in the second half of the year, the company does not expect container throughput to register an overall increase this year,' he said in a statement.

Mr Ruben added that the severity of the volume contraction would depend on how protracted the pandemic was going to be and how social and economic activities adjust to a post lockdown world.

He said the world was unlikely to be able to consume in the way it used to and it might take a while for it to get to the consumption levels of 2019.

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