Investment tax allowance boosts Westports Q4 profit by 36.1%

PETALING JAYA: Westports Holdings Bhd saw its net profit soar 36.1% to RM210.98 million for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2017, compared with RM155 million in the previous corresponding period, driven by investment tax allowance of RM65.55 million following the capitalisation of assets arising from the expansion at CT8 and CT9 last year.

Its revenue was flat at RM573.96 million against RM573.26 million in the same quarter a year ago.

The group has proposed to declare a dividend of 7.95 sen amounting to RM271.1 million for the quarter under review.

Westports' full-year net profit expanded 5.6% from RM616.83 million to RM651.51 million, with revenue rising 2.6% from RM2.04 billion to RM2.09 billion.

Its overall container volume moderated 9% to 9 million twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU). The intra-Asia segment showed favourable momentum with strong growth as throughput expanded 8%, thus increasing its contribution to Westports' overall volume to 57%.

"Westports continued to facilitate domestic economic activities as gateway volume increased by 10% during the 12-month period."

However, it said with the changes in the container shipping industry in the previous year and their subsequent effects, especially with the formation of new global alliances as well as mergers and acquisitions among the container shipping lines, total transhipment containers handled were lesser at 6.2 million TEUs.

Westports expects its container throughput to register a modest growth rate of low single-digit percentage in 2018.

Meanwhile, the group managing director Datuk Ruben Emir Gnanalingam said the construction work at CT8 and CT9 has now been completed.

"With the added deep-water wharf, our fleet of new terminal operating equipment and additional staff hired to strengthen our human resources as we operate 24x7 facilities, Westports' total container handling capacity has now increased to 14 million TEUs per annum."

Westports’ share price closed 21 sen or 6.3% higher at RM3.54 on some 4.24 million shares traded.