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Westports sets aside RM800m for expansion

Westports sets aside RM800m for expansion

Kuala Lumpur: Westports Malaysia Sdn Bhd is planning to spend some RM800 million over the next three years starting 2007 to boost the number of berths and increase container handling facilities at its port in Port Klang.

Executive chairman Tan Sri G. Gnanalingam said the first-year expansion plan calls for RM460 million in spending, which includes a 600m expansion of its current 2,600m berth length, scheduled to be completed by June next year.

"Additionally, we have ordered four Super Post-Panamax quay cranes at RM77.4 million, bringing the total number to 28. We are expecting to receive two of the cranes this month and the remaining two in March next year," he told reporters in Port Klang.

Westports will also expand its container yard operations, purchase 48 prime movers, 51 trailers and 33 Rubber Tyred Gantry cranes.

Gnanalingam said the investment will be funded by internal accruals, deferred payments to contractors for five years and bank borrowings.

Container throughput at Westports has increased from 2.6 million teu in 2004 to 3.7 million teu in 2006. The port aims to bring throughput up to 4.5 million teu this year.

As at June 2007, Westports commanded a 63 per cent share of the container cargo market in Port Klang.

Last year, Westports posted a revenue of RM738 million, of which RM571 million came from its container operations.

"Westports' debt-to-equity ratio has fallen to 0.90 this year from 1.98 in 2006, due to an increase in our paid-up capital. We aim to settle all our outstanding loans of some RM400 million by 2011," said Gnanalingam.  [04/09/07]

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