ICTSI mulls bids for new projects, eyes Africa

Business World - - CORPORATE NEWS - By Imee Charlee C. Delavin Se­nior Re­porter

LISTED port op­er­a­tor In­ter­na­tional Con­tainer Ter­mi­nal Ser­vices, Inc., (ICTSI) is look­ing to bid for new projects this year to sus­tain its growth mo­men­tum, as global trade faces head­winds aris­ing from the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s pro­tec­tion­ist poli­cies.

ICTSI Pres­i­dent and Chair­man En­rique K. Ra­zon, Jr. on Thurs­day said the firm is con­sid­er­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties in Africa, and is also one of three bid­ders for a ma­jor­ity stake in Greece’s Thes­sa­loniki Port.

“We’re in the midst of a bid right now, [in] Greece, it’s not yet done. We’re al­ready at the sec­ond round. [Maybe there will be] three rounds,” Mr. Ra­zon told re­porters in a mix of English and Filipino at the side­lines of the ICTSI stock­hold­ers meet­ing.

The sec­ond round of bid­ding for the sale of a 67% stake in Greece’s sec­ond-largest port will end on Fri­day. Mr. Ra­zon said it will take around two to three months be­fore the bid­ding is com­pleted. Thes­sa­loniki Port has a mar­ket value of $211 mil­lion and had a through­put of 344,277 20-foot equiv­a­lent units (TEUs) last year.

Aside from ICTSI, Dubaibased P& O Steam Nav­i­ga­tion Com­pany (DP World) and Ger­man pri­vate eq­uity Deutsche In­vest Eq­uity Part­ners are also in the run­ning for the project.

“[ Next] we have a cou­ple [ of projects] that we’re look­ing at... in Africa,” the ICTSI chief added.

Mr. Ra­zon said US Pres­i­dent Don­ald J. Trump’s pro­tec­tion­ist pol­icy is the big­gest threat to global trade.

“Trump is the big­gest risk, by far, prob­a­bly the only risk. Eco­nomic growth is al­ways a risk but Trump is the big­gest at the mo­ment,” he said. “[In the] Philip­pines, the [risk is on the] gov­ern­ment’s in­fra­struc­ture projects, if they can ex­e­cute that in their time frame, then that is very good for the coun­try.”

To min­i­mize risks from US pro­tec­tion­ism, Mr. Ra­zon said the com­pany will con­tinue to grow by adding more ter­mi­nals around the world. “Asia will be im­pacted the most from pro­tec­tion­ism in the US, and you have the elec­tions in the EU (Euro­pean Union), so far its not a pretty pic­ture,” he added.

The ports ty­coon is con­fi­dent ICTSI will get “more con­tracts” as global risks also bring op­por­tu­ni­ties.

ICTSI, which op­er­ates 30 ter­mi­nals in 20 coun­tries, low­ered its bud­get for cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­tures this year to $ 240 mil­lion from the $420 mil­lion it set for 2016. Last year, the com­pany spent only $391.9 mil­lion of the pro­grammed capex as most of its ex­pan­sion projects were com­pleted.

“[The lower spend­ing bud­get is a] re­ac­tion to com­ple­tion of many of our projects, [ there’s] noth­ing much in the pipe­line,” Mr. Ra­zon said.

In 2016, ICTSI com­pleted the ini­tial stage of its new con­tainer ter­mi­nals in Aus­tralia, Demo­cratic Re­pub­lic of Congo and Iraq, while the devel­op­ment of projects in Hon­duras and Mex­ico are on­go­ing.


In a sep­a­rate in­ter­view, ICTSI Se­nior Vice-Pres­i­dent for Asia Pa­cific Chris­tian R. Gon­za­lez said its pro­posed $30-mil­lion com­mon-user barge and rol­lon, roll-off (RoRo) ter­mi­nal in Cavite will be for­mally launched on Fri­day.

The Cavite Gate­way Ter­mi­nal (CGT), which will sup­port gov­ern­ment ini­tia­tives to de­con­gest Metro Manila roads, has been ap­proved and “ba­sic oper­a­tion” could start by the first quar­ter of 2018.

The ter­mi­nal will be lo­cated within a six- hectare prop­erty in Tanza, Cavite. It was iden­ti­fied as the prime lo­ca­tion for the project be­cause of the prov­ince’s high eco­nomic den­sity — in ad­di­tion to the Cavite Ex­port Pro­cess­ing Zone, which houses over 400 ac­tively op­er­at­ing com­pa­nies.

ICTSI ear­lier said Phase 1 of CGT’s devel­op­ment will sup­port a to­tal through­put of 115,000 TEUs ev­ery year.

The port op­er­a­tor saw its at­trib­ut­able net in­come soared 207% to $ 180 mil­lion in 2016, driven by strong vol­ume growth and rev­enues from its port op­er­a­tions.

Shares in ICTSI in­creased 10 cen­tavos or 0.11% to end Thurs­day’s trad­ing at P88 each.

ICTSI Pres­i­dent and Chair­man En­rique K. Ra­zon, Jr. said the firm is con­sid­er­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties in Africa.

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