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Dubai's DP World flags coronavirus risk as 2019 profit falls

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Dubai's DP World, one of the world's largest port operators, said on Wednesday full-year profit fell 8.3 per cent and warned of risks to the near-term industry outlook as the coronavirus outbreak disrupts trade.

[DUBAI] Dubai's DP World, one of the world's largest port operators, said on Wednesday full-year profit fell 8.3 per cent and warned of risks to the near-term industry outlook as the coronavirus outbreak disrupts trade.

The state-controlled company earned US$1.19 billion in profit attributable to owners after separately disclosed items, compared with US$1.3 billion for 2018, it said in a filing.

Revenue jumped 36.1 per cent to US$7.7 billion.

"The near-term outlook remains a cause for concern, with global trade disputes, the Covid-19 outbreak and regional geopolitics causing disruption to trade," chairman Sulan bin Sulayem said in a statement.

"However, DP World is well-positioned to respond in the short term by focusing on disciplined investment and managing the cost base to protect profitability. Overall, we remain positive on the medium-to-long-term outlook of the industry," he said.

The company, which runs facilities from Hong Kong to Dakar, handled 71.2 million box containers in 2019, flat compared with the previous year. Volumes at its flagship Jebel Ali port in Dubai fell 5.6 per cent.

DP World also operates industrial parks, transportation and other logistics services assets.

The company on Tuesday said it was slashing fees by up to 70 per cent at one of Dubai's biggest business parks, the Jebel Ali Free Zone.

DP World is in the process of delisting, after an announcement in February said Dubai would take full control of the port operator.

REUTERS