KEPPEL PHILIPPINES POSTS 6 PERCENT RISE IN '91 PROFIT

KEPPEL PHILIPPINES POSTS 6 PERCENT RISE IN '91 PROFIT

The Philippines subsidiary of Singapore-based Keppel Corp. posted a 6 percent increase in after-tax profit and a 5 percent boost in revenue in 1991, largely due to more foreign ship repair work.

Keppel Philippines Group reported after-tax profit of US$3.4 million (84.4 million pesos) on revenue of US$13.5 million (338.6 million pesos), compared with after-tax profit of US$3.2 million (79.3 million pesos) on revenue of US$12.9 million (323.2 million pesos) a year earlier.Keppel Philippines said it saw a marginal drop in local ship repair work in the Philippines, but an increase in the number of foreign contracts.

The company said it repaired 23 foreign vessels that brought in gross revenue of 51.4 million pesos. This foreign component made up 36 percent of the Philippines group's total revenue, a sharp increase from the 16.5 percent it accounted for in 1990.

Much of this was due to the addition of a 20,000-deadweight-ton floating dock, the company said.

"The company achieved a modest improvement in its results, despite the difficult economic environment and the contraction of the domestic ship repair market," said Jose F.S. Bengzon Jr., chairman of Keppel Philippines, in a prepared statement.

He added that the new floating dry dock enabled the company to take advantage of a buoyant international market.

The company said it expected the ship repair business to remain relatively steady through the first half of 1992 and pick up in the second half.

Keppel's two ship repair yards in the Philippines are Cebu Shipyard & Engineering Works and Keppel Philippines Shipyard. Keppel has also gone on record about its interest in the commercial use of Subic Bay, the naval base that will be largely vacated by the U.S. military in the near future.

It also has been rumored that Keppel could be interested in Cam-Rahn Bay, the major South Vietnamese port developed by the U.S. military for the Vietnam war.

Singapore shipyards have been looking overseas in recent years under some

pressure from the Singapore government.

Last month the government tightened up the use of foreign labor in Singapore yards.