SembCorp To Post Modest Gains

Friday, February 09, 2001
SembCorp Marine, Singapore's largest ship repairer, is expected to post a modest rise in 2000 earnings, boosted mainly by gains from divestment of a small technology company.

SembCorp Marine, a unit of government-linked SembCorp Industries with a market value of about S$1.1 billion ($630 million), is due to report its earnings on Tuesday.

Analysts said they expected SembCorp Marine to fare much better than its smaller rival Keppel Hitachi, which reported a 50 percent slide in 2000 earnings due to a weak ship repair market.

"SembCorp Marine has a lot more long-term contracts with customers like NOL (Neptune Orient Lines), so that has helped them," said an analyst at Kim Eng Securities.

The analyst is forecasting a four percent rise in net profit to S$82.1 million from S$79 million in 1999.

Analysts have a consensus 2000 forecast of S$81.5 million, according to Multex Global Estimates. The forecasts range from a low of S$71.5 million to a high of S$86.8 million.

The analyst continued that SembCorp Marine's net profit included an investment gain of S$6.1 million which it recorded in its interim results from the sale of shares in Jurong Technology Industrial Corp early last year.

Without the gain from Jurong Tech, group profit would have declined five percent, he said. Analysts, who mostly have a buy on SembCorp Marine due to the cheap valuation of its stock trading at 14 times earnings, expect the outlook for ship repair to pick up this year.


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