Forth Ports, the U.K.'s only listed port operator, said it expects first half earnings to be well ahead of last year on cost cuts and increased efficiencies.
The company, which runs six ports in Scotland and Tilbury on the River Thames near London, booked net profit of $24.1 million in the first half of 2009 on revenue of $141 million.
"The business has performed well in the first half of 2010. With our improved operational gearing, diversified cargo and broad customer base, we are confident that the underlying outcome for the full year will be in line with our expectations," the company said in a pre-close trading update.
Forest products traffic through Tilbury increased "substantially" over 2009 and animal feed cargo also improved. But short-sea container traffic fell below last year's 58,600 boxes.
Tilbury Container Services, an associate company, showed a significant increase in volume and profitability in the first half of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009. The terminal handled 140,900 containers in the first half of 2009.
Container traffic at Grangemouth, Scotland's biggest box port, have not yet recovered from the depressed levels of 2009, when it handled 71,000 boxes.
In April, Forth Ports successfully rebuffed a $930 million takeover attempt by a consortium that had built up a 27.5 percent stake.
-- Contact Bruce Barnard at firstname.lastname@example.org.