Increased throughput and new businesses boost bottom line, but near-term trade outlook remains uncertain.
DUBAI-based ports operator DP World has benefited from improved conditions in global trade during the first half of the year but has warned that geopolitical headwinds and recent changes to trade policies continue to pose uncertainty for the container market.
Revenues at the group were up 14.4% to $2.6bn during the first half, with strong volume growth across its regions supported by new businesses including Drydocks World, Dubai Maritime City and Cosmos Agencia Marítima.
On a like-for-like basis, revenue increased by 3%, driven by a 4.6% increase in total containerised revenue. But the ongoing problems at Doraleh and startup costs in Santos ate into profits, which were down 7.9% at $629m.
Profit declined due to the deconsolidation of Doraleh (Djibouti) and consolidation of DP World Santos (Brazil), which remains in ramp-up stage.
Chairman Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem said: “The near-term trade outlook remains uncertain with recent changes in trade policies and geopolitical headwinds in some regions continuing to pose uncertainty to the container market.
“However, the robust financial performance of the first six months also leaves us well placed for 2018 and we expect to see increased contributions from our recent investments in the second half of the year.”
Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation grew 7.9% and ebitda margin for the half-year stood at 50.3%. Like-for-like adjusted ebitda grew 4.2% with a margin of 54.4%. The company blamed the consolidation of lower margin maritime services businesses for the fall in the ebitda margin.
Last month, DP World reported a 6% like-for-like increase in volumes across its portfolio for the first six months of the year, despite a slowdown in the second quarter.
DP World handled 35.6m teu across its portfolio of terminals in the first half of 2018, with gross container volumes growing by 4.8% year on year on a reported basis and 6% on a like-for-like basis.