DP World's container movements through 2022 showed significant gains as global shipping adjusted from Covid disruptions in 2020-21. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Helped by improved container throughout, Dubai’s DP World revenues were up a solid 58.9 per cent to $17.12 billion.

Profit for the year turned in $1.8 billion, again a healthy gain on the $1.3 billion from 2021. This works out to 35.9 per cent increase on the year. (In like-for-like currency terms, the increase for 2022 was up 28 per cent.)

Through 2022, DP World’s container throughput came to 79 million TEUs, up 1.4 per cent on the previous year’s 77 million. But on the revenues from container movements, last year saw a 9.1 per cent gain to $5 billion.

“DP World’s strong performance in 2022 was driven by our consistent investment in relevant capacity, prioritisation of high-margin cargo and focus on delivering customised solutions to meet the unique needs of cargo owners,” said Sultan Bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO.

The EBITDA margin, however, declined 6.2 per cent to 29.3 per cent.

Growth could slow down

“Overall, (DP World’s) 2022 performance exceeded expectations, and the start of the year (2023) has been encouraging,” said Bin Sulayem. “However, the outlook is uncertain due to the more challenging macro and geopolitical environment, and we expect growth rates to soften.

“Despite this, we expect our portfolio to continue to deliver a robust performance, and we remain positive on the medium- to long-term fundamentals of the industry and DP World’s ability to continue to deliver sustainable returns.”

Asset deals will pay off

Through the year, DP World went in for a series of deals expanding its network, and also raised new funding through a deal with a Canadian pension fund and another with a Saudi investor.

“In 2022, we focussed on strengthening the balance-sheet and raised over $8 billion through asset monetizations,” said Bin Sulayem. “The program and new partnerships will allow us to continue to drive growth in our portfolio. The fresh capital also provides capacity and flexibility to invest in key growth markets while maintaining an investment grade rating.”

Cash generation

  • Cash from operating activities were higher by 20.6 per cent for DP World to a ‘record’ $4.45 billion in 2022.
  • On the debt side, leverage (which is net debt to adjusted EBITDA) on a pre-IFRS16 basis declined to 2.7x (FY2021: 3.7x) due to improved profitability and lower net debt. On a post-IFRS16 basis, net leverage stands at 3 times compared to 4.2 times in FY20201
  • DP World’s credit rating improved by a notch, as measured by Moody’s, to baa2 with ‘stable outlook’. This was based on improved performance and stronger balance-sheet.
  • DP World is ‘committed to a strong investment grade rating’ in the medium-term.

In 2022, Canada’s Caisse de depot et placement du Quebe (CDPQ) and Hassana Investment Co. of Saudi Arabia struck partnerships with DP World, raising $7.4 billion to ‘help capture growth potential of the wider region’.