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HPH Trust posts 38.4% drop in Q4 earnings on revenue dip, losses from associated companies

HUTCHISON Port Trust Holdings (HPH Trust) has announced a 38.4 per cent drop in fourth-quarter earnings amid a weaker revenue and losses from associated companies.

Attributable net profit came in at HK$237.8 million (S$40 million) for the three months ended Dec 31 last year, down from HK$385.8 million from the same period a year earlier.

Earnings per unit was 2.73 Hong Kong cents, compared to 4.43 Hong Kong cents previously.

The port operator has proposed a dividend of 11.1 Hong Kong cents per unit, down 33.1 per cent from the 16.6 Hong Kong cents per unit previously.

During the quarter, revenue dipped 3.4 per cent to HK$2.86 billion. The combined container throughput of Hongkong International Terminals, Cosco-HIT and Asia Container Terminals - collectively known as HPHT Kwai Tsing - inched up 0.9 per cent due to higher transshipment cargoes, although it was offset by weaker intra-Asia cargoes, the trust manager said in its earnings report on Monday.

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Container throughput of Yantian International Container Terminals in Shenzhen, China, which comprises Yantian International, expanded by 10.6 per cent, driven by growth in the United States and transshipment cargoes.

Average revenue per twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) for Hong Kong and China fell, given that there was a greater volume of concessions offered to certain liners, as well as certain revisions on tariffs following the mergers and acquisitions of some liners.

In addition, China's average revenue per TEU was also adversely impacted by higher transshipment mix, but partially offset by appreciation in the Chinese yuan.

Share of losses of associated companies was HK$38 million, 1,683.3 per cent worse than previously, reflecting the share of Huizhou International Container Terminals after it was acquired at the end of 2016.

Net asset value per unit was HK$4.63 as at Dec 31, 2017 compared with HK$4.74 at the same time a year ago.

Units of HPH Trust closed 1.3 per cent or half a US cent lower at 37.5 US cents on Monday, before the results were announced.

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