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HPH Trust to raise port tariffs by up to 10%; Q1 earnings nearly halve

Monday, April 27, 2015 - 18:23
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Hutchison Port Holdings Trust (HPH Trust) is raising its port tariffs by up to 10 per cent as it seeks to prepare its ports to handle more mega container ships, it said in a media briefing on Monday.

Hutchison Port Holdings Trust (HPH Trust) is raising its port tariffs by up to 10 per cent as it seeks to prepare its ports to handle more mega container ships, it said in a media briefing on Monday.

The trust, which operates ports in Hong Kong and South China, also plans to add more berths to its port in Shenzhen.

It said this right before it posted a 48.9 per cent plunge in first-quarter net profit to HKS$285.8 million, after markets closed on Monday.

Revenue for the three months ended March 31 dipped 0.1 per cent to HK$2.95 billion.

Gerry Yim, chief executive of the trust manager, told the briefing held at Suntec on Monday afternoon that about half of the ports' customer tariff rates are up for review and the trust aims to raise those rates by 6-8 per cent, and in some cases up to 10 per cent.

That would give an overall boost of 3-5 per cent to revenue, he noted, adding that the increased tariffs would take effect before the end of June 2015.

Chief financial officer Ivor Chow also said that instead of topping up distributions per unit (DPU) with cash, like in previous years, the trust would now just pay out 100 per cent of distributable income.

Analysts had earlier said that HPH Trust may have to cut its distribution payout ratio significantly as it faces higher costs and a slowdown in business.

HPH Trust did not declare DPU for Q1. It pays out DPU twice a year.

Its units closed half a cent lower at S$0.92 on Monday.

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