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Vopak aims to strengthen LNG presence as division posts H1 growth

18 Aug 2017 10:53 GMT

LNG and Americas divisions both achieve boost in operating profit.



Royal Vopak on Friday reported an increase in operating profit for liquefied natural gas (LNG) activities, with the company also declaring its intention to develop its presence in the LNG infrastructure market.

Operating profit, or earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT), for Vopak's LNG division increased by EUR 1.3 million, or 8.1 percent, during the first half (H1) of 2017 to EUR 17.3 million, compared with the corresponding period last year.

Vopak's LNG activities consist of the joint venture Gas Access to Europe (Gate) terminal at the Maasvlakte in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and the Altamira LNG Terminal in Mexico.

The Gate terminal is jointly owned with Gasunie and was recently expanded to include a third berth and special infrastructure for the loading of small LNG vessels.

In conjunction with LNG bunker vessels, the new berth was also developed to make it easier for ocean-going vessels to fill up with LNG in Rotterdam.

At the other two jetties, large LNG tankers mainly berth to unload their LNG cargo into three 180,000-cbm storage tanks.

In Vopak's financial report for H1, CEO Eelco Hoekstra said the company had "ambitions to strengthen our presence as a service provider in the LNG infrastructure market".

The terminal operator also referred to last month's announcement that Gasunie LNG Holding B.V., Oiltanking GmbH and Vopak LNG Holding B.V. have acquired the approval under the EU Merger Regulation to establish a joint venture for owning and operating an LNG terminal in northern Germany.

"This decision is a milestone within the feasibility study the companies are currently conducting," Vopak said on Friday.

The three companies are jointly investigating the possibility of constructing and operating a multi-service LNG terminal in northern Germany which would offer import and small-scale services. The location under investigation is Brunsbuttel - along the Elbe river and close to the key port of Hamburg.

Overall results

In its overall results, Vopak posted a second-quarter (Q2) net profit - excluding exceptional items - of EUR 73.9 million, which was a fall of 4.1 percent compared with the EUR 77.1 million figure seen in Q2 2016, and down 3.4 percent sequentially on the EUR 76.5 million recorded in Q1 2017.

H1 net profit decreased 14 percent year-on-year (YoY) to EUR 150.4 million.

Revenue in Q2 dipped 1 percent YoY to EUR 327.5 million, and 4.2 percent sequentially. H1 revenue fell 2 percent to EUR 669.3 million.

Of its five divisions (Netherlands, EMEA, Asia, Americas and LNG), only LNG (+8.1%) and Americas (+11%) recorded a rise in EBIT (excluding exceptional items), with Netherlands (-28%), EMEA (-23%) and Asia (-4%) all recording declines; however, Asia did achieve a 25 percent rise in EBIT including exceptional items.

Storage

Vopak's worldwide storage capacity increased by 2.3 million cbm, or 6.8 percent, between June 30, 2016, and June 30, 2017, from 33.6 million cbm to 35.9 million cbm.

The average occupancy rate for Vopak's subsidiaries (i.e. excluding joint ventures and associates) in H1 decreased to 91 percent from last year's figure of 94 percent. This was said to be mainly attributable to the Netherlands division.






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