ATI earmarks P2.2B for 2014 spending

By Lawrence Agcaoili, The Philippine Star

Posted at Mar 08 2014 10:07 AM | Updated as of Mar 08 2014 06:07 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Listed port operator Asian Terminal Inc. (ATI) has earmarked P2.2 billion this year to undertake its most aggressive investment program in over two decades particularly for the South Harbor in Manila and the Port of Batangas.

The budget for this year would be used to finance the acquisition of more container-handling equipment, development of additional cargo storage and truck-holding areas, rehabilitation of piers and continuous upgrade of port systems and technologies.

ATI said the funds for its capital expenditures this year would be sourced from internally generated funds as it prepares for greater growth ahead and in support of a steadily expanding economy.

It manages and operates the South Harbor as well as the Inland Clearance Depot in Manila, Port of Batangas, Batangas Container Terminal, and Batangas Supply Base. It also owns 35.71 percent of South Cotabato Integrated Port Services Inc, the existing cargo handling operator at the Makar Wharf in the Port of General Santos, General Santos City.

“ATI is positioning its gateway ports in Manila and Batangas to deliver more comprehensive and competitive port solutions to the major industries and customers it serves,” the company said.

The port operator is also set to expand overseas after its Board of Directors approved amendments to the company’s Articles of Incorporation that would allow it to invest abroad.

The company informed the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) that its revenues grew 5.6 percent to P6.6 billion last year due to favorable unit rates in international containerized cargoes and higher volume for non-containerized cargoes at its gateway port Manila South Harbor .

The higher revenues were also traced to the robust stream of passengers, roll-on/roll-off transport and other cargoes handled by its modern Batangas Port.

However, ATI’s net income fell 29 percent to P1.2 billion last year on account of the impact of a change in accounting policy in relation to its concession fees.

Without the impact of such change, ATI executive vice president Andrew Hoad said the company’s net income would have increased by 1.1 percent to P1.7 billion last year.

“Excluding the technicality of the change in accounting policy, the business measured on a like-for-like basis would have seen earnings go up from 2012. This is especially pleasing, because 2013 has seen a very significant increase in concession fees to government which kicked in last year as part of our concession terms for Manila South Harbor,” Hoad said.

He explained that the company wants to avoid a backward step in earnings while delivering the extended concession period so necessary to allow the large scale investment which will deliver service sustainability for the port.

ATI has embarked on a three-year P4.2-billion capital investments program to boost the competitiveness of Philippine industries and to meet its expansion targets for Manila ‘s gateway port as part of its contractual commitments with the state-run Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).