Increased annual profits for Port of Felixstowe and Harwich International Port owner Hutchison Westports
- Credit: Picture: Stephen Waller
The parent company of the Port of Felixstowe and Harwich International Port has posted increased annual revenues and profits.
Accounts filed at Companies House show that Hutchison Westports, which also includes London Thamesport in Kent, achieved turnover of £332.865m in the year to December 31, 2016, up 1.6% from £327.728m in the previous 12 months.
Operating profit was 13.5% higher at £72.634m, up from £64.015m in 2015 when the figure included an £8m impairment charge relating to the book value of London Thamesport.
And pre-tax profit grew by more than three-quarters (77.3%) from £35.548m to £63.043m, helped by a fall in interest charges on bank overdrafts and borrowings from £22.419m to £5.827m.
The group’s cash flow statement shows that it repaid £41m of borrowings during 2016, following a repayment of £325m the previous year.
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Hutchison Westports, a member of the EADT/EDP Top 100 listing on the largest companies based in Suffolk and Norfolk, said the revenue performance reflected stability both in the level of demand and in average rates charged per unit of cargo.
The performance of container operations at Felixstowe remained stable, resulting in revenue similar to the previous year, core operations at Harwich also remained consistent, with a reduction in costs resulting in a higher gross profit marginm and Thamesport continued to attract new business.
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During 2016, the group said, it opened an extension to Berths 8 and 9 at Felxistowe, allowing two of the largest container vessels to be handled simultaneously, and also continued to invest in the port’s rail infrastructure, with the number of daily train movements increasing to 33.
It also obtained planning consent during the year for the first phase of a new Port of Felixstowe Logistics Park, involving the development of significant warehousing facilities with the port.
“Growth in UK container volumes, coupled with the increasing number of ultra large container vessels, highlight the importance of management’s ongoing commitment to long-term growth and investment in port infrasture,” the directors add in their strategic report accompanying the accounts.
Hutchsion has also continued to invest in cleaner technologies, with an Air Quality Management Area order imposed on the Port of Felixstowe by Suffolk Coastal council in 2009 being formally lifted last year following a significant improvement in air quality.