Cargo Handlers profit falls as cargo volumes dip

As cruise ship timelines remain uncertain and containerised cargo volumes see slower inflows into Jamaica, Cargo Handlers Limited (CHL) saw its revenue fall by six per cent to $81.7 million which was offset by its stevedoring income of bulk cement for the first quarter ending December 31, 2020.

The company, which operates at the Port of Montego Bay, was negatively affected by the fall in cruise ship arrivals that allows it to generate income from handling the cargo of those vessels.

However, with the rise of the construction sector in the economy, the company has benefited significantly from bulk cement arrivals into the country. This eventually led to CHL acquiring a 30 per cent stake in Buying House Cement Limited for $104.2 million which should be reflected in the second quarter’s results.

With expenses remaining flat during the period compounded by lower other income, CHL’s operating profit declined by nine per cent to $37.7 million. The positive net finance income was not enough to offset the higher taxation for the company which came out 90 per cent higher at $9.9 million that left CHL’s net profit down by 22 per cent to $27.9 million. Earnings per share for the quarter was $0.07 versus the $0.10 in the prior period.

Total assets grew by six per cent to $590.7 million with the notable mention of the company’s cash balance going below the $300-million mark and closing out the period at $234.7 million. The growth in property, plant and equipment was driven heavily by the company’s $108-million investment in trailers, boom-lifts and forklifts along with new leasing contracts to Bulk Liquid Carriers valued at US $198,000 ($29.9 million).

Total liabilities marginally declined to $54.5 million while shareholders equity rose by seven per cent to $536.2 million. Despite the company’s tax break expiring in December, a dividend of $0.09 ($37.5 million) was declared for payment on March 23.