Stake sale sends Cosco Ports profit soaring 183.2pc to US$$512.5 million

COSCO Shipping Ports' 2017 net profit increased 183.2 per cent year on year to US$$512.5 million, drawn on revenues of $634.7 million, which rose 4.1 per cent.

The profits surge was attributed to the $285.4 million sale of the company's shares in Qingdao Qianwan Container Terminal, a deal that also saw Cosco Ports pick up a 20 per cent stake in Qingdao Port International.

Excluding exceptional items, Cosco Ports' terminal operating business reported a profit of $299.9 million during 2017, a 23.4 per cent increase from last year. 

Also contributing were increases volumes through the port operating arm of the state-run Cosco Shipping, formerly known as Cosco Pacific.

Cargo throughput at the firm's port terminals totalled more than 100 million TEU in 2017, a 5.4 per cent increase from the previous year, gains made across the company's portfolio. 

Chinese terminal volumes were up 5.7 per cent year on year to 16 million TEU with Bohai Rim throughput rising 6.1 per cent to 19.6 million TEU while Yangtze Delta operations rose 12.1 per cent to 5.1 million TEU. Southeast China coastal facilities increased volume 9.5 per cent to 27 million TEU while the Pearl River Delta was up 19.2 per cent to 1.4 million TEU.

Overseas terminals operated by Cosco Ports, meanwhile, posted a total throughput of 18.8 million TEU, a 38.7 per cent year-on year increaser. 

Profits from operations in which the company has a controlling stake slipped 1.7 per cent to $58 million, while earnings from terminals in which Cosco Ports owns a minority share surged 31.5 per cent to $241.8 million.

The company attributed the increases in volumes and profits primarily to broad-based global economic growth and the resulting increase in international trade.