OOIL builds on Asian exports for first-half turnaround

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 August, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 August, 2000, 12:00am

Orient Overseas International Ltd (OOIL) saw a turnaround in the first half to June 30, with earnings rising to US$22.6 million amid global trade and cargo transport growth, against a US$1.5 million loss last year.

'The strong first-half performance is attributable to the company's core business of international containerised transportation. The primary profit drivers were exports from Asia to the United States and Europe,' chairman and chief executive Tung Chee-chen said.

Mr Tung's family-controlled OOIL owns one of the world's largest international integrated containerised transport businesses and trades under the name OOCL.

Turnover rose 20 per cent to US$1.16 billion, mainly due to strong Asian exports. Profit before tax surged 5.89 times to US$33.58 million as operating expenses and finance costs were maintained at previous levels, while revenue increased. An interim dividend of one US cent per share will be paid to shareholders.

Mr Tung said the arrival of the peak season in the containerised transport business and the continued performance of non-containerised activities augured well for the remainder of the year.

The company expects full-year results to be better than last year's.

Chief financial officer Harry Wilkinson said OOIL had evolved from a traditional shipping company to one with businesses including containerised shipping, container terminal operation, information technology and logistics.

OOIL, which set up its own Web site five years ago, has soft-launched a new online service, Cargosmart, in an attempt to strengthen its competitive edge and expand e-commerce business - in competition with Hutchison Whampoa's Portsnportal.com.

Cargosmart would extend e-commerce transaction features and connectivity and was a powerful process management tool, general manager of corporate marketing Niels Kim Balling said.

Designed to have the capacity to establish trade service portals and act as an applications service provider, the platform aims primarily to provide services to customers but is intended to have broader use later.

The company is in talks with banks and insurance companies for potential link-ups.