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HPH Trust posts Q4 net loss of HK$12.11b on recognition of impairment losses

THE recognition of non-cash impairment losses of HK$12.29 billion (S$2.12 billion) in the fourth quarter heavily dampened results for Hutchison Port Holdings Trust (HPH Trust) for the three months ended Dec 31, 2018.

HPH Trust fell into the red, recording a net loss attributable to unitholders of HK$12.11 billion, compared with a net profit of HK$237.8 million in the previous year, the group said in a Singapore Exchange filing on Tuesday evening. It made a loss per unit of 138.97 HK cents, from an earnings per unit of 2.73 HK cents in the previous year.

Had the impact of the impairment losses been excluded, HPH Trust would have recorded a net profit of HK$182.8 million, a 23.1 per cent decline on Q4 2017 figures. As such, earnings per unit for Q4 2018 would have been 2.1 HK cents.

For the three months ended Dec 31, revenue for the container port business trust stood at HK$3 billion, a 5 per cent increase from HK$2.86 billion posted in the year-ago period.

The increase in revenue was due to a 10.9 per cent increase in container throughput at its Shenzhen terminal from Q4 2017, which was driven by a surge in the US cargoes in anticipation of the 25 per cent tariff implementation originally scheduled in January by the US to Chinese exports, it said.

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The increase in cargo traffic came despite container throughput at HPH Trust's Kwai Tsing terminal decreasing by 2.2 per cent from the same period last year. The manager of the business trust attributed this primarily to the decrease in Intra-Asia and transshipment cargoes.

For fiscal 2018, HPH Trust posted a net loss of HK$11.55 billion, compared with a net profit of HK$944.2 million in the previous year due to the effect the impairment losses recorded in Q4 2018. It recorded a loss per unit of 132.6 HK cents, from earnings per unit of 10.84 HK cents in the previous year. 

If the impairment losses were excluded, net profit for fiscal 2018 would have been HK$737.7 million, a 21.9 per cent decline on fiscal 2017 figures.

Revenue for fiscal 2018 was HK$11.48 billion, a 0.6 per cent dip from HK$11.55 billion in the year-ago period.

Net asset value per unit sank to 3.07 HK cents as at Dec 31 from 4.63 HK cents a year ago.

Fiscal 2018's full-year distribution per unit stood at 17 HK cents.

HPH Trust units ended unchanged at S$0.35 on Tuesday before results were released.

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