Refund for HK terminals boosts HPH Trust's Q1 earnings

Container port business trust Hutchison Port Holdings Trust said a refund for its container terminals in Hong Kong boosted its first-quarter performance.

HPH Trust said its three terminals and two berths in Kwai Tsing, Hong Kong, received what is known as a government rent and rates refund of HK$430 million (S$75 million) in the three months to March 31.

This was "after reaching agreement on the final rateable value of certain leased properties for the past years", it said in the results report released yesterday.

With the refund, and additional depreciation owing to an accounting estimate change last year, first-quarter net profit soared 94.2 per cent to HK$554.9 million.

Excluding the refund and additional depreciation, the trust reported a 26.5 per cent drop in first-quarter net profit to HK$210.1 million, compared with the same period a year earlier.


    NET PROFIT BEFORE NORMALISATION: HK$554.9 million (+94.2%)

    NET PROFIT AFTER NORMALISATION: HK$210.1 million (-26.5%)

    REVENUE: HK$2.75 billion (-6.7 %)

Revenue for the three months to March 31 was down 6.7 per cent to HK$2.75 billion from the same period a year earlier.

The trust said the container throughput of Hong Kong terminals fell by 12.1 per cent, owing to weaker intra-Asia and transshipment cargoes.

The outbound cargoes to the United States and the European Union increased in the first quarter, helping to offset the drop.

Revenue was boosted as the average revenue per twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) for Hong Kong was higher than last year, mainly owing to an increased tariff.

For China, the average revenue per TEU was lower than last year, mainly owing to yuan depreciation, but was partially offset by an increased tariff.

The trust posted a 10.1 per cent drop to HK$1.04 billion for the cost of services rendered.

This was mainly owing to lower throughput handled, lower fuel price and operation cost savings, on the back of better deployment and yuan depreciation.

However, these were partially offset by rising external contractors' costs and inflationary pressure, said the trust.

Excluding the refund and additional depreciation, quarterly earnings per unit fell to 2.41 HK cents, down from 3.28 HK cents in the same period last year.

Net asset value per unit was HK$4.76 as at March 31, down from HK$4.89 as at Dec 31.

HPH Trust units were unchanged at 67.5 Singapore cents yesterday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 19, 2016, with the headline 'Refund for HK terminals boosts HPH Trust's Q1 earnings'. Subscribe