Cargo handling revenue at Sea-Land Orient Terminals (Slot) and Asia Terminals (ATL) is expected to improve next year, New World Infrastructure says in its annual report. It said attributable operating profit of both units fell slightly by 1.9 per cent to $273.6 million for the year to June 30, compared with $278.9 million in the previous corresponding period. Contributions from Slot rose 3.1 per cent, while contributions from ATL fell 4.4 per cent. 'Slot and ATL are poised for growth after bringing on-line new customers and down-sizing the work force,' the report said, adding that the restructuring that had taken place should reduce Slot and ATL's operating costs. It said though Slot's container throughput volume improved during the review period, its net profit was affected by three factors - a lower average tariff due to volume discount given to customers; a one-time restructuring cost; and a government rental payable at the start of this year. If the one-time restructuring cost was not taken into account, the attributable operating profit would have risen 11.6 per cent. Although ATL's revenue rose 10.4 per cent, its net profit fell 11 per cent due mainly to a government rent payable from this year, a one-time restructuring cost and a provision for the diminution in value of an investment made in an associated company in Thailand. New World said if the two costs were not taken into account, the attributable operating profits would have increased 8.2 per cent. During the review period, ATL's average occupancy rate improved to 92.9 per cent from 86.5 per cent in 1997. Average rental per square foot also remained stable. New World reported a $3.5 million loss, which was linked to its acquisition of a 37.15 per cent in Pacific Ports Co in May. New World has a 33.34 per cent stake in Slot and 55.67 per cent in ATL through a company called Hetro. It also has a 24.5 per cent stake in Sea-Land Orient (Tianjin) Container Terminals, a 100 per cent stake in Tianjin Free Trade Zone warehouse and 40 per cent stake in United Asia Terminals at Yantian. Its most recent involvement was in the Container Terminal 9 (CT9) land grants agreement as part of the Asia Container Terminals (ACT) consortium. Slot has a 29.5 per cent interest in ACT, while Hongkong Land has 28.5 per cent, Sun Hung Kai Properties 28.5 per cent and New World 13.5 per cent. New World had said it was in talks with Slot to acquire an additional 19 per cent in ACT at an estimated price of $1 billion.