Hutchison Port Holdings Trust's Q3 earnings slide

HPHT's revenue fell 6.8 per cent as container throughput for its assets at Hong Kong International Terminals dived 5.3 per cent, compared with the same quarter last year.
HPHT's revenue fell 6.8 per cent as container throughput for its assets at Hong Kong International Terminals dived 5.3 per cent, compared with the same quarter last year.PHOTO: HUTCHISON PORT HOLDINGS

Hutchison Port Holdings Trust (HPHT) has posted a slump in third-quarter earnings because of weaker intra-Asia and transshipment cargoes.

The Hong Kong-based container port business trust yesterday posted an 18.2 per cent fall in net profit to HK$430.2 million (S$77.1 million) for the three months ended Sept 30 from a year earlier.

Revenue slipped 6.8 per cent to HK$3.27 billion as container throughput for its assets at Hong Kong International Terminals fell 5.3 per cent, compared with the same quarter last year.

The container throughput of its assets in Yantian International Container Terminals in China fared worse, decreasing by 7.7 per cent.

The trust manager said that falling revenue in Hong Kong was due to weaker trade within Asia.

  • AT A GLANCE

  • REVENUE: HK$3.27 billion (-6.8%)

    NET PROFIT: HK$430.2 million (-18.2%)

The average revenue per standard-sized container for Hong Kong was below last year's mainly due to the adverse throughput mix. Average revenue per standard-sized container in China was also below that of last year, which the manager attributed to the depreciation in the Chinese yuan.

The firm was also affected by the bankruptcy of South Korean shipping giant Hanjin. It said its other operating expenses rose 19.6 per cent to HK$223 million year on year because of its provision for bad debt for Hanjin. This was partially offset by its savings in rent and rates.

Its total operating expenses was HK$2.1 billion, or 3.1 per cent less than a year earlier.

Earnings per unit for the quarter declined to 4.94 HK cents from 6.04 HK cents, while net asset value per unit also fell to HK$4.71 as at Sept 30, from HK$4.89 as at Dec 31 last year.

The manager said the United States economy is regaining its growth momentum and showed a mild rebound in the third quarter. However, the growth in outbound cargoes to Europe slowed down in the third quarter.

"Given the soft global trade outlook, management remains cautious on the expected cargo volume for 2016 and will continue to focus on improvements to costs."

The manager added that the trust's performance was also affected by structural changes in the container shipping industry, as various global shipping alliances have rationalised their services.

But it said shipping lines continue to deploy mega-vessels to promote economies of scale, which is a development that the trust is expected to benefit from as it has natural deep-water channels and mega-vessel handling capabilities .

HPHT units closed 0.2 cent higher at 62.1 cents yesterday, before the results were announced.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 25, 2016, with the headline 'Hutchison Port Holdings Trust's Q3 earnings slide'. Print Edition | Subscribe