DP World sees 2012 profit in-line with forecasts

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Dubai port operator DP World, the world's third largest port operator, on Tuesday said it expected 2012 profits to be in line with analysts' forecasts despite a 1.4 percent drop in consolidated container volumes for the year.

DP World said terminals in which it owns majority stakes handled 27.1m TEU (twenty-foot equivalent container units) for 2012, compared with 27.5m TEU in 2011, it said in a statement on Tuesday.

The port operator, one of the more profitable assets of conglomerate Dubai World, posted a 2.4 percent rise in gross volumes to 56.1m TEU from 54.7m TEU in the prior year. The gross volumes include all terminals in which DP World owns a stake.

The company, which recently disposed stakes in some of its non-core assets, described the second half of 2012 as "challenging". However, the firm said it expected profits for the year to be in line with analyst expectations.

Analysts on average forecast earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBIDTA) of US$1.3bn and net profit of US$486m for 2012, according to Reuters data.

"After a strong start to the year we had a challenging second half," DP World's Group CEO Mohammed Sharaf said in the statement.

"Our tight focus on cost management and higher quality revenue mean we still expect to achieve EBITDA in line with expectations for 2012. Lower net financing charges will benefit reported profit before tax."

DP World, which operates more than 60 terminals across six continents, has in the last several months sold stakes in Russian container terminal Vostochnaya Stevedoring Co, British-based Tilbury Container Services and operations in Belgium. It has also quit its venture in Yemen.

The port operator reported a slight decline in its consolidated terminal volumes for the third quarter. It also posted flat profits for the first half of 2012 as growth in its Gulf operations offset tough global trading conditions.

Shares of DP World climbed 20.7 percent in 2012 on NASDAQ Dubai and have risen 11.1 percent year-to-date. The company is also listed on the London Stock Exchange.

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