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DP World shrugs off Egypt labour disputes as 1H2012 profits rise

Dubai-based operator of strike-ridden Ain Sokhna port says it saw six months of solid growth despite a 'tough operating environment'

Ahram Online, Wednesday 29 Aug 2012
ain sokhna port
DP World's Ain Sokhna port has seen its operations shut down several times in the past 15 months due to labour strikes (Photo: Ahram file)
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Views: 1099

DP World, the Dubai-based operator of Egypt's strike-ridden Ain Sokhna seaport, saw a mild uptick in profits for the first half of 2012, the company announced on Wednesday. 

The firm, which manages over 60 cargo-shipping terminals worldwide, reported net profits of $247 million between January and June 2012 -- up 0.4 per cent on the same period the year before. Revenues were $1.53 billion, 2 per cent higher than in the first half of 2011.
Chief Executive Mohammed Sharaf acknowledged a "tougher operating environment" amid global economic uncertainty, but said the robust results showed the company's diverse assets and recent focus on emerging markets made it well-placed for future challenges.
DP World's sole Egyptian concern, Ain Sokhna port, has seen persistent labour unrest in the aftermath of the country's January 2011 uprising, with emboldened workers demanding a greater share of company profits and better risk allowances.
Located on the southern reaches of the Suez Canal, Sokhna is Egypt's main sea hub for cargo from the Far East. In September 2011, large-scale strikes led to a temporary shutdown -- a move that reportedly cost DP World around LE30 million ($5.02m) in lost revenues. 
The last strike at the port took place in June and caused a partial freeze of operations before it was resolved.
Egyptian unrest seemed to have little impact on overall profits, with DP World reporting strong performances for Middle East, Africa and Europe between January and June.
Adjusted pre-tax earnings for the three regions were up an average 18 per cent on last year. Pre-tax profit margins reached 46.3 per cent, reflecting sizeable growth in revenue from container shipping and other activities.
The world's third largest port operator, DP World, is one of the more profitable assets of the debt-laden Dubai World. 
It reported an 82 per cent rise in 2011 net profits in March, boosted by the sale of its Australian operations to private equity firm Citi Infrastructure Investors.
The company says it handled nearly 55 million container units in 2011, and is studying expansion in India, China and the Middle East with plans to raise capacity to 103 million units by 2020.
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