Forth Ports, the UK’s only listed ports operator, increased first half profits 29 percent from a year ago on strong container growth and cost cuts.
The company, which successfully thwarted a $990 million takeover bid by leading shareholders earlier in the year, said it is eyeing acquisitions of other port businesses.
Pre-tax profit rose to $24.8 million in the six months to June 30 from $19.2 million in the year-earlier period on a 3 percent increase in revenue to $138.9 million from $134.2 million.
Operating profit grew 19 percent to $35 million from $29.5 million.
Cargo throughput at the group’s seven ports – six in Scotland and Tilbury on the river Thames near London -- shrunk to 22.3 million metric tons from 24.2 million metric tons driven by a 6 percent decline in liquid bulks and a 17 percent drop in traffic at two Scottish marine terminals due to maintenance work in North Sea oil fields.
The Tilbury Container Services terminal boosted traffic 10 percent to over 155,000 boxes from 141,000 boxes in the first half of 2009.
“Current trading continues to be encouraging,” Chief Executive Charles Hammond said. “The ports’ project pipeline is strengthening and there are greater opportunities to acquire or manage other port businesses.”
Forth, which also has property and recycling businesses, said it has submitted planning applications for onshore wind installations and biomass facilities at its Scottish ports.
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