CK Hutchison: Trade Disputes May Affect Port Business in Second Half

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Hong Kong-based conglomerate CK Hutchison expects that trade conflicts will impact its port business in the second half of the year.

“Although the severity of such impact cannot be known except as events unfold, the division’s diverse customer base and geographical operations in markets all around the world ensure that it will be more resilient against potential headwinds compared to its peers,” CK Hutchison, a parent company of Hutchison Port Holdings Trust (HPH Trust), explained.

In its financial report for the first half of this year, the group said that its ports and related services division handled a throughput of 40.6 million TEU units through 290 operating berths, a 1% decrease compared to the same period in 2017.

Lower volume in HPH Trust, the Mainland China, Klang, Mexico and Panama were partly offset by higher throughput in Barcelona, Pakistan and Thailand.

Despite the slight drop in throughput, total revenue, EBITDA and EBIT increased 9%, 9% and 7% against the same period last year respectively. Total revenue stood at HKD 17,591 million, EBITDA at HKD 6,205 million and EBIT at HKD 3,864 million in the six-month period ended June 30, 2018.

The group said that the growth was driven primarily by favorable margin mix, disciplined cost control and favorable foreign currency translation impact. Specifically, EBITDA improvements were partly offset by the higher depreciation charge from the recent expansions of several ports and facilities.

HPH Trust will continue to pursue cost-saving initiatives, enhance operational efficiency through technology and increased process automation, and will further strengthen strategic alliances, CK Hutchison added.