DP World
Acquisitions, such as of Topaz Energy in the UAE, helped with 2019 revenue flows. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Dubai: DP World recorded profits of $1.34 billion for 2019, built on revenues of $7.68 billion as the port operator started seeing benefits coming in from recent acquisitions such as the P&O Ferries in the UK and UAE’s Topaz Energy & Marine.

But “the near-term outlook remains a cause for concern with global trade disputes, Covid-19 outbreak and regional geo-politics, causing disruption to trade,” said Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Chairman and CEO.

“However, DP World is well positioned to respond in the short term by focusing on disciplined investment and managing the cost base to protect profitability. Overall, we remain positive on the medium to long term outlook of the industry.”

The Board of Directors has recommended a dividend of $332 million (at 40 cents a share), “which is in line with past policy of maintaining a payout ratio of at least 20 per cent,” the company said in a statement.

Plus on both

Last year, there were gains on both revenues – up 36.1 per cent – and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization – up 171.7 per cent. Profits attributable to the company owners came to $1.32 billion.

“Our ability to adapt and change has been the key to our success - and we must continue to evolve for continued success,” said Bin Sulayem. “We believe this long-term approach to business is not aligned with the short-term thinking of equity markets and, consequently, the next stage of DP World’s development will take place as a private company.

“Following the delisting, the leverage on the balance-sheet will rise temporarily - but we are confident of de-leveraging as we remain committed to a strong investment grade rating in the medium term.

“The business continued to generate high levels of cashflow and combined with more disciplined investment and potential capital recycling, we have enough flexibility to maintain a strong balance-sheet.”

No holding back on new investments
For this year, DP World is projecting a capital expenditure guidance of up to $1.4 billion, with new investments planned in UAE, Prince Rupert (Canada), London Gateway (the UK), Jeddah, Callao (Peru), Sokhna (Egypt) and Berbera (Somaliland). Last year, it invested $1.14 billion across the existing portfolio.