OOIL turns around to a US$181m profit

PUBLISHED : Monday, 11 August, 2014, 9:30am
UPDATED : Monday, 11 August, 2014, 10:04am

Earnings at Hong Kong-listed Orient Overseas (International) Ltd (OOIL) turned around sharply in the first half of the year.

The container transport and logistics giant declared a profit attributable to shareholders of US$181.3 million in the first six months, compared with a US$15.3 million loss in the same period last year.

Sales rose 7 per cent to US$3.2 billion.

Revenue at subsidiary Orient Overseas Container Ltd (OOCL) rose 4 per cent over the same period last year on a 10 per cent increase in lifting and a higher load factor.

“The first six months of 2014 saw a robust growth in cargo demand in the major European and American markets,” OOIL said in its results statement on Monday morning.

The firm also declared sharply improved income from its property holdings.

Dividends from the Hui Xian property trust rose to US$41.3 million in the first half, a 4.5-fold increase from the same period last year.

The company’s results were above expectations, UOB Kay Hian Research shipping analyst Lawrence Li said. He attributed the gains in operating income to cost controls and the firm’s ability to charge a premium over its competitors because of its superior integrated logistics.

The firm proposed an interim dividend of 7.5 US cents per share compared with zero for the same period last year.

Last month, a French court found subsidiary Orient Overseas Container Ltd (OOCL) guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death 11 years ago of Courtenay Allan, a 37-year veteran of the company.

Allan, OOCL’s London-based transatlantic trade director, fell into a lift shaft on the container ship OOCL Montreal during a cocktail reception aboard the vessel in the French port city of Le Havre.

Tung Chee-chen, the chairman and chief executive of OOIL, is the brother of Tung Chee-hwa, who was Hong Kong’s first chief executive.

Shares of OOIL rose 4.8 per cent to HK$42.85 at 10am on Monday.