By Regan E. Doherty
Company looking at new ventures in coming quarters to increase top line growth.
Qatar Gas Transport Co (Nakilat), the world's largest shipper of liquefied natural gas (LNG), revealed a 7 percent drop in second quarter net profit on Wednesday, missing analysts' forecasts.
Profit at Nakilat, which carries LNG to countries as far afield as China, Spain and the United States, fell to $45.77 million, according to Reuters calculations, from $49.2 million a year earlier.
Analysts polled by Reuters had on average expected quarterly profit of $56.8 million.
Redwan Ahmed, analyst, EFG Hermes, Dubai, said: "The key weakness was in income from fully owned vessels. There can sometimes be a delay or lag in revenue between the time the vessels are delivered and the time of deployment. Over the past six months they have had a lot of vessels delivered and deployed."
He added: "But from Q3 onward, there should not be this variance. We don't expect this to be a problem going forward."
Ahmed said in coming quarters the company will likely be looking for new ventures which will bring additional top-line growth.
He said: "I think you'll see investment in shipping activity over the next six months. The next stage will be additional investments, new business lines."
Nakilat began a $6.8 billion financing programme in 2006 to fund construction of 25 LNG ships at South Korean shipyards.
The company plans to complete a fleet of more than 50 owned and part owned special LNG carrier vessels this year, giving it over 16 percent of the world's LNG shipping fleet. It expects to account for over 30 percent of global LNG supply by 2011.
The source of the gas is Qatar's North Field, which contains 15 percent of proven world gas reserves. Qatar has the world's third largest gas reserves behind Russia and Iran.
Qatar, the world's top LNG exporter, plans to reach capacity to export 77 million tonnes of LNG this year.
The company posted half year profit of $90.6 million, it said in a statement to the bourse.
It had reported a net profit of $44.9 million in the first quarter of 2010. Net profit for the first half of 2009 amounted to $64.1 million.
Shares of Nakilat fell 0.5 percent to 18.40 riyals on Wednesday on the Qatar bourse before the results were announced. (Reuters)