DP World recently announced strong financial results from its global portfolio of marine terminals for the twelve months to December 31, 2011, delivering a better than expected profit for the year, after separately disclosed items, of $ 751 million, 67 per cent ahead of last year, according to Exim News Service.
During 2011, DP World benefited from the improvement in global container volumes whilst retaining a very clear focus on generating additional revenue, driving productivity and managing costs. This resulted in EBITDA of $ 1,307 million and an EBITDA margin ahead of expectations at a record 43.9 per cent. When compared to the prior year, underlying volume growth was 9 per cent, with underlying revenue growth of 14 per cent and underlying EBITDA growth of 19 per cent.
Profit attributable to the owners of the company, after separately disclosed items, was $ 683 million, significantly ahead of the prior year as strong profit growth from operations was supplemented with a one-off gain from separately disclosed items, including the profit on the monetisation of 75 per cent of the Australian terminals. This resulted in earnings per share (EPS) of 82 cents.
Each of its three regions delivered a superior performance when compared to the prior year. In the Middle East, Europe and Africa region, EBITDA grew 9 per cent to $ 861 million, with an EBITDA margin of 45.7 per cent. In the Asia-Pacific and Indian Subcontinent region, EBITDA increased 26 per cent to $ 322 million with a significantly improved EBITDA margin of 64.5 per cent. The Americas and Australia region delivered EBITDA of $ 203 million or, excluding the deconsolidation of the five Australia terminals, on an underlying basis, delivered EBITDA growth of 37 per cent and improved EBITDA margins of 33.1 per cent.
With strong conversion of profitability into cash, gross cash flow from operations increased to $ 1,159 million with net debt reduced to $ 3,583 million. This was partly as a result of improved financial performance and partly due to the proceeds from the monetisation of 75 per cent of the Australian terminals. This resulted in leverage (net debt to adjusted EBITDA) significantly lower at 2.7 times and provides a solid platform for investing in the future growth of operations.
DP World continued to invest in operations to ensure that it is well positioned to take advantage of the growth in global trade and meet the requirements of customers. During 2011, it completed and opened major capacity expansion projects in Dakar (Senegal) and Karachi (Pakistan) and opened a new terminal at Vallarpadam (India). Despite these new capacity additions, utilisation remains high, above 80 per cent across the portfolio. High utilisation in Jebel Ali (UAE) is why it will be investing in an additional 1 million TEUs of new capacity in 2012 and investing in a new 4 million TEUs container terminal which will be operational in 2014. In addition, it announced that London Gateway (UK) will be operational in the final quarter of 2013.
DP World Group Chairman, Mr Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, commented, "DP World delivered an excellent improvement in profitability during 2011 to $ 751 million after separately disclosed items. This improvement in profitability is a reflection of our strategy, which sees us focus on the faster growing emerging markets and more profitable origin and destination (O&D) and gateway cargo. This is also a reflection of our ability to meet our customers’ needs for the right capacity in the right locations and delivering a world class efficient service to ensure we are the port operator of choice around the world.
"Since the decline in global container volumes in 2009, DP World has worked hard to build a more robust and profitable portfolio. Our 2011 results reflect this, with a 55 per cent improvement in profit attributable to owners of the company before separately disclosed items since 2009, as our investments in new terminals mature and we benefit from the inherent operating leverage of our portfolio.
"On account of this strong improvement in underlying profit combined with the additional profit from the Australia monetisation, the Board of DP World is recommending an increased dividend distribution to $ 199 million, or 24 cents per share. The Board is confident of the company’s ability to continue to generate cash and support our future growth whilst maintaining a stable dividend payout."
DP World Group Chief Executive, Mr Mohammed Sharaf, said: "2011 has been another good year for DP World with the second half of the year delivering a better performance than the first half. This improved performance was achieved despite a deteriorating global economic backdrop in the second half.
"We have seen commendable growth throughout our global portfolio and our flagship terminal, Jebel Ali (UAE), continues to deliver sustainable EBITDA growth. We have supplemented this solid domestic performance with stronger growth in major terminals outside the UAE as we continue to invest in our portfolio of growth oriented terminals.
"The global macroeconomic uncertainty has continued into 2012. With our portfolio focused on the faster growing emerging markets and more stable O&D markets, we continue to see growth across our portfolio in the first two months of the year, with a 11 per cent improvement in gross volume growth. We remain committed to delivering improved operational and financial performance over 2011.
"As we look ahead, we remain confident about the long term outlook for our industry. We believe our continued investment in existing and new terminals around the world will ensure our portfolio is best positioned to meet the expectations of our customers and should allow us to continue to outperform."