Matson volume, profits rise

Matson volume, profits rise

Matson Navigation Co., a subsidiary of Alexander & Baldwin, on Wednesday reported second-quarter operating profits of $31.4 million, an increase of 35 percent from $23.2 million in the same period last year.

Revenues were $208.1 million, up 4 percent over $199.3 million in the year-ago quarter. The company attributed the increase to improved yields and cargo mix, increases in its bunker fuel surcharge and higher container volume.

Total container volume was up by 1 percent from the second quarter of 2003. Within that total, the number of Hawaii-bound containers rose 4 percent, reflecting a return to normalized shipments of consumer goods and growth in construction-related products.

Alexander & Baldwin said the improvement in Matson's operating profit also came on the absence of an excise tax accrual that took place in 2003, and lower administrative and employee benefit costs. These positive factors were partially offset by higher vessel operating expenses and depreciation.

Matson's first-half operating profit soared to $50 million, up 42 percent from $35.3 million in the first half of 2003. First-half revenue was $404.6 million, up 5 percent from $385.4 million.

Matson in June increased its Guam service rates by $125 per container and $25 per vehicle, and raised its West Coast terminal handling charge in the Guam service by $25 per container and by $5 per automobile.

Matson's logistics business turned in second-quarter operating profit of $2.6 million, up 86 percent from $1.4 million a year ago. Revenue climbed to $93.5 million, a 63 percent increase from $57.4 million.

The company said the strong growth in logistics revenue and operating profit for the second quarter and first half of 2004 was mainly the result of increased customer volume, due in large part to an acquisition in late 2003. Also contributing was unit growth in all business segments -- domestic, international and highway.