KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 9): Westports Holdings Bhd saw its net profit increase by 29.66% in the third quarter ended Sept 30, 2023 (3QFY2023) to RM195 million, from RM150.39 million on higher revenue during the quarter coupled with lower administrative and tax expenses as well as finance costs.
Administrative expenses were reduced by 47% to RM6.41 million in the current quarter from RM12.07 million a year ago. Finance costs also dropped 18% to RM12.91 million from RM15.67 million previously, and there were lower tax expenses of RM57.36 million, down by 22% from RM73.59 million previously.
Hence, earnings per share rose to 5.72 sen per share in 3QFY2023 from 4.41 sen per share previously, its bourse filing showed.
Revenue for the quarter gained 4.18% to RM542.31 million from RM520.54 million a year before due to an increase in container revenue.
The stellar quarterly earnings have also lifted its cumulative nine-month results (9MFY2023) as net profit grew 23.43% to RM573.35 million from RM464.54 million a year ago.
Cumulative revenue also rose 3.23% to RM1.6 billion versus RM1.55 billion previously.
The group said the improved 9MFY2023 earnings were mainly from the absence of the prosperity tax implemented in 2022 and partially from the reduced finance costs as the company redeemed and reduced the total outstanding balance under the RM2 billion Sukuk Musharakah Medium Term Note Programme.
However, it noted a notable increase in electricity cost as the national utility company implemented the current Imbalance Cost Pass-Through (ICPT), which was significantly higher than the previous corresponding period.
The other significant energy input is diesel for the terminal trucks and rubber tyred gantry cranes. The group purchases diesel at an unsubsidised price. Overall, the total cost of sales increased to RM681 million.
On its prospects, Westports said its container throughput volume in the current year would likely still be in the single-digit growth range compared with the previous year, even though the volume recovery in recent quarters has been marginally better than initial expectations at the beginning of the current financial period.
“Intra-Asia has provided the baseline growth. However, the upside is tempered with caution as inflationary pressure, higher interest rates, fluctuating foreign currencies, and uncertain growth momentum in major developed economies may adversely affect regional economic growth momentum,” it cautioned.
In separate statement, Westports executive chairman-cum-group managing director Datuk Ruben Emir Gnanalingam Abdullah said the proposed expansion of Westports' container terminals 10 to 17 will basically double the total container handling capacity of Westports and further strengthen the late Tan Sri Gnanalingam’s achievement of making Port Klang a mega transhipment hub and gateway port amid the busiest straits in the world.
The proposed expansion is expected to increase Westports’ current capacity of 14 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) by 13 million TEUs to 27 million TEUs in the next 10 years.
At the midday break, Westports shares price rose 0.6% or two sen to RM3.36, bringing the group a market capitalisation of RM11.46 billion.