Westports records net profit of RM177.9 mil in 2Q21 on higher container revenue

By S BIRRUNTHA / Pic by TMR FILE PIX

Westports Holdings Bhd’s earnings increased year-on-year (YoY) to RM177.97 million in the second quarter ended June 30, 2021 (2Q21) from RM134.34 million a year ago, mainly contributed by the growth in container revenue.

The port operator’s revenue also improved to RM505.07 million from RM431.60 million previously on the back of the rise in container revenue, according to its exchange filing with Bursa Malaysia.

The company registered an earnings per share of 8.50 sen for the quarter compared to 5.05 sen previously.

Westports also declared an interim dividend of 8.50 sen per share for the financial year ending Dec 31, 2021 (FY2021), which is payable on Aug 26, 2021.

For the cumulative six-month period, its net profit rose to RM386.29 million from RM287.15 million, while revenue surged to RM1.01 billion against RM905.07 million previously.

The company noted that the container segment contributed most to the revenue as throughput volume increased to 5.3 million TEUs during the first six-month of 2021.  

“Both the current and previous corresponding periods have some form of movement restrictions.  

“Nevertheless, the improved throughput level of 11% over the previous corresponding period may reflect that the economy has made some adjustments to the new norms,” it said in a separate statement.

Additionally, Westports said it saw an active level of container yard utilisation as the global supply chain remained stretched, with occasional port congestion at various terminals across the globe.

The company has continued to enhance its container and conventional operational capabilities by having invested RM118.5 million in the first six months of 2021.

This includes for the purchase of additional terminal operating equipment and on-going work at a new jetty for the Liquid Bulk Terminal, as well as a new 19-acre container yard to support more extensive throughput requirements.  

According to Westports Group MD Datuk Ruben Emir Gnanalingam Abdullah, the company was expected to complete an additional 7.69-hectare container terminal (CT) yard by end-2021 after it had completed the container yard Zone Z at CT9 at the cost of RM81 million in 2020.

He noted that by the end of 2021, the company will complete an additional 19-acre Container Terminal Yard 8.

Ruben also added that Westports is still investing in more Terminal Operating Equipment to strengthen the overall terminal handling capacity.  

“The Suez Canal and Yantian events highlighted the reliance of global economies and livelihoods on the moving-floating global supply chain.  

“Westports is cognizant of its role in Malaysia and the region and has planned to undertake and build the mega Container Terminal from CT10 to CT17 upon reaching a new concession agreement with the government

“This is also our ongoing commitment to improving the competitiveness of Port Klang in South East Asia as a transhipment hub,” he added.

On prospects, Westports said it expects to see single-digit container throughput growth for 2021 as the vaccination rollout worldwide paves the way for a recovery in economic activities and consumer confidence, while fiscal stimulus bolsters the economy in many countries.  

Nevertheless, the company said the trajectory towards normalcy could still have some deviations due to different vaccination rollout speeds, sporadic resurgences or lingering effects of the pandemic.