Profit rise for Felixstowe port owners
OWNERS of Felixstowe port have had a 17 per cent rise in profits for their worldwide operations in the past year.Chairman of Hutchison Whampoa, Li Ka Shing praised the performance of the company's three UK ports, Felixstowe, Harwich International and Thamesport.
OWNERS of Felixstowe port have had a 17 per cent rise in profits for their worldwide operations in the past year.
Chairman of Hutchison Whampoa, Li Ka Shing praised the performance of the company's three UK ports, Felixstowe, Harwich International and Thamesport.
Although, their throughput had not risen, the total profits for the trio before tax were up 34pc, mainly due to a successful cost-cutting programme.
While there were sizeable pay rises for some Felixstowe workers whose contracts were made up to those of longer-serving employees, savings were made elsewhere at the port.
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Efforts by executives to trim their budgets had contributed massively to the success of the company's port operations.
It runs container terminals in 31 ports in 15 countries, handling a combined throughput of 35.8 million standard-sized boxes on its 175 berths, and making a profit of 6,795 million Hong Kong dollars last year.
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This year Hutchison Whampoa expects new container terminals at Yantian and Hong Kong to begin operations, adding another 3.3 million boxes a year, while Balboa, Panama, is being doubled in size.
Work is also underway on major expansion of Felixstowe's Trinity Terminal to add more deepwater berths – though this will not come on-line until 2004 – and plans have been drawn up for longer term development to double its capacity.
"This capacity expansion programme to meet demand and the continuing growth of the existing ports, provides a solid base for earnings growth in 2003 and beyond," said Mr Li.
"While the ports division will continue on a selective basis to seek attractive investment opportunities, it is currently focused on improving and developing its existing businesses."
Hutchison Whampoa's group turnover for last year amounted to 111,129 million HK dollars with a profit of 14,288 million HK dollars.
It has interests in not just ports, but also telecommunications, property and hotels, and retail and manufacturing.
n Li Ka Shing was born in Chaozhou, China, on June 13, 1928
n He moved to Hong Kong when he was 12 and had little formal schooling
n In 1950 he started Cheung Kong factory making plastic flowers
n He began making property investments in 1958
n By 1972 his business interests had grown huge and his company Cheung Kong Holdings was listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange
n In 1979 he bought property, ports and trading conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa
n Today Mr Li is said to be the most powerful man in Asia and the 20th wealthiest man in the world
n He has given away more than £400 million to charity and through the Li Ka Sing Foundation supports education, cultural, medical and welfare projects
n Last year the foundation gave £5.3m towards a new state of the art cancer research centre in Cambridge
n Father-of-two Mr Li does not boast a lavish lifestyle – and is proud of his simple standard of living, having the same house for 20 years, and driving a modest car
n He says spiritual peace and a desire to "do meaningful deeds" are far more important than material comfort