Vopak To Sell Tankers

Thursday, March 08, 2001
Dutch chemicals storage and shipping company Koninklijke Vopak reported a five percent rise in 2000 net profit, driven by its North American distribution business, and forecast a sharper rise in the current year. Vopak, the world leader in tank storage, said net profits after payouts of preferential share dividends rose to 160.1 million euros ($148.9 million) in 2000 from 152.2 million euros in the previous year. Vopak said profits after goodwill write-offs were likely to rise by eight to 10 percent in 2001, and also forecast a rise in net profit before goodwill and one-time charges of 19-21 percent in the current year. Company watchers said although the 2000 figures came as no surprise, the outlook for 2001 was slightly disappointing. “The profit figures were in line with expectations, but the forecast was below what we expected,” said Geert-Jan Hoppers, analyst with Effectenbank Stroeve. Vopak board member Niels von Hombracht said the company would trim its 50 percent equity stake in Swedish shipper Brostrom, and planned to auction off some of its own tankers and reduce its barge ownership. “We expect announcements about this in the first half of the year,” he said. The company said turnover rose by nearly 16 percent last year to 4.15 billion euros, largely as a result of its stronger chemical distribution position in North America. Sales at the North American unit jumped 17 percent to 2.3 billion euros from 1.9 billion euros in 1999. About half that increase was due to organic growth and improvement in market share, Vopak said. Those sales are expected to grow 5-10 percent per year from 2002, Chairman Ton Spoor told the news conference. — (Reuters)
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