Toll road operator China Merchants exacts 46% rise in earnings on higher traffic flow

Ningbo Beilun Port Expressway in Zhejiang province. China toll road operator China Merchants Holdings (Pacific) has booked a 46 per cent rise in third quarter net profit to HK$145.8 million (S$23.4 million). -- FILE PHOTO: FINANCIAL PR PTE
Ningbo Beilun Port Expressway in Zhejiang province. China toll road operator China Merchants Holdings (Pacific) has booked a 46 per cent rise in third quarter net profit to HK$145.8 million (S$23.4 million). -- FILE PHOTO: FINANCIAL PR PTE LTD

China toll road operator China Merchants Holdings (Pacific) has booked a 46 per cent rise in third quarter net profit to HK$145.8 million (S$23.4 million).

This was on the back of a 37 per cent increase in turnover to HK$486.6 million for the three months to Sept 30.

The revenue growth was largely driven by the consolidation of revenue from the Beilun Port Expressway, which the group acquired in November last year and higher revenue contribution from the Yongtaiwen Expressway.

Higher profit was recorded, thanks mainly to the consolidation of results from the Beilun Port Expressway, an increase in profit contribution from the Yongtaiwen Expressway and the Guiliu Expressway, and lower administrative expenses and withholding tax. The increase in profits was partly offset by higher finance costs.

Toll revenue recorded by the Yongtaiwen Expressway increased by 6 per cent, driven by higher traffic flow which was partly offset by the negative impact from the toll free policy for small passenger cars during major public holidays.

Earnings per share swelled to 20.28 HK cents from 13.93 HK cents previously while net asset value per share climbed to HK$6.10 compared to HK$5.43 as at Dec 31.

The acquisition of Beilun Port Expressway and the disposal of Yu Yao Highway have boosted the group's earnings significantly in the past year.

Furthermore, the proposed disposal of non-core property development business in New Zealand will allow the group to further streamline its businesses and to be well positioned to acquire new quality toll road assets in future.

The toll road business will continue to deliver strong results in the light of the continued economic growth in China for the rest of the year.