November 23, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

ICTSI expects strong growth to continue this year

INTERNATIONAL Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) is looking at a better performance this year, as its diverse investments around the world are expected to bring in profits amid headwinds that continue to affect global trade.


“[It’s] always positive. Our outlook has been very strong, we have a very diversified portfolio. The good thing about having a very diversified portfolio is when you kind of feel stressed in one region of the world, it’s mitigated by benefits and success in other regions of the world,” ICTSI Senior Vice-President and Regional Head of Asia Pacific Christian R. Gonzalez said in a recent interview.

“When a lot of these economic noise that’s out there now kinda dies down, we see a very, very positive outlook for global trade and better growth certainly than we saw last year and this year,” he added.

ICTSI saw its attributable net income went up 207% to $180 million in 2016 from the $58.5 million recorded in 2015 driven by strong volume growth and revenues from its port operations.

In the first quarter of 2017, the Enrique K. Razon-led port operator saw its net income attributable to equity holders jump 23% to $51.7 million from the $42.2 million it earned during the same period last year.

Mr. Gonzalez said as long as its ports are able to handle the requirements of big ships, then the operator could expect “better growth” trajectory from last year.

“As long as we can handle big ships and our infrastructure continues to meet the requirements of these bigger ships, I think the outlook is going to be very, very strong. The places where we just recently developed -- Iraq, Colombia, we’re now pushing forward already in Honduras -- obviously are gearing up for bigger ships. Melbourne also being in a position to handle much bigger ships than the competition, I think again the outlook is very, very strong,” Mr. Gonzalez explained.

ICTSI earlier moved to bid for new projects this year to sustain its growth momentum amid headwinds that continue to affect global trade, including the protectionist policy of the Trump administration.

The port operator made a bid for Greece’s second-largest port last May, but lost out to German private equity firm Deutsche Invest Equity Partners.

Recently, Mr. Gonzalez disclosed that ICTSI is currently monitoring three port projects in Africa, one in Asia, and another in an undisclosed location.

Adding more terminals around the world will help the company minimize the impact of risks in some of the ports it operate.

ICTSI, which operates 30 terminals in 20 countries, has set its capital expenditure this year at $240 million. Last year, the company spent only $391.9 million of the programmed $420-million capex as most of its expansion projects were completed.

For this year, the capex is mostly “for the completion of the initial stage development of the company’s greenfield projects in Democratic Republic of Congo and Iraq; the second stage development of the company’s project in Australia; continuing development of the company’s container terminals in Mexico and Honduras; and capacity expansion in its terminal operations in Manila.”

In 2016, ICTSI completed the initial stage of its new container terminals in Australia, Democratic Republic of Congo and Iraq.

As of end March, the Razon-led port operator already spent $33 million, approximately 14% of the planned capital expenditure budget for the full year 2017.