KUALA LUMPUR: Westports Holdings Bhd has posted positive earnings attributed to a more favourable mix of gateway volume and investment tax allowance.

In addition, significant contribution from its container operations has also contributed to the port operator's earnings for the full year.

Net profit in the financial year ended December 31, 2017 (FY17) increased 5.62 per cent to RM651.51 million from RM616.83 million a year ago, while revenue rose 2.45 per cent to RM2.09 billion from RM2.04 billion.

For the fourth quarter (Q4)2017, net profit surged 36.12 per cent to RM210.98 million from RM154.99 million in the same period a year ago.

Q4 revenue recorded at RM573.96 million from RM573.26 million a year ago, Westport's exchange filing today showed.

Group managing director Datuk Ruben Emir Gnanalingam said the container shipping industry went through an unprecedented realignment changes that affected almost all major liners in 2017.

“The industry witnessed a wave of mergers and acquisitions, of which some of our clients were involved in. These changes adversely affected our total transhipment volume last year, but Westports have transitioned successfully towards serving new services under the Ocean Alliance,” he said in a statement.

Westports' container operations handled 9.0 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2017, while the Intra-Asia segment showed favourable momentum with strong growth, as throughput expanded eight per cent.

Touching on expansion, Ruben said construction work for container terminal expansion at CT8 and CT9 have been completed.

“With the added deep-water wharf, our fleet of new Terminal Operating Equipment, and additional staffs hired to strengthen our human resources, as we operate 24x7 facilities, Westports total container handling capacity has now increased to 14 million TEUs per annum,” he said.

The added capacity would further strengthen Port Klang as the preeminent port for the nation’s gateway trade and being one of the main transhipment hubs in the region.

Westports will allocate 75 percent of its profit after tax as dividends to its shareholders.

The company has also declared second interim single-tier dividend of 7.95 sen per share amounted to RM271.1 million payable on March 6, 2018.

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