STA, 28 February 2020 - Luka Koper, the operator of Slovenia's sole maritime port, saw a group net profit plunge by 32% to EUR 40.4 million in 2019 due to a slowdown of global trade. Revenue remained broadly flat at EUR 228.7 million, six percent below plans, the company said on Friday.
Profit before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) declined by over a quarter to EUR 73.1 million and operating profit (EBIT), at EUR 45.3 million, was 35% lower than in the year before.
The volume of cargo shipments declined across the board, with general cargoes and dry bulk hit particularly hard: the former dropped by 16% and the latter by 17%.
Containers, a major category, saw a small drop in terms of tonnage, but measured by unit (TEU), the transhipment declined by 3%. Cars, another major category, saw a 4% drop.
Liquid cargoes are the only category in which the port registered an improvement, with tonnage increasing by 12%.
The company said that the second half of 2019 had been marked by the cooling of the global economy, in particular the automotive industry, electronics and the production of iron products.
Nevertheless, the bottom line is still 5% above the projections.
In line with the expectations, the results were affected by the implementation of a new business model for port services and the levy on transhipment for the construction of a new Koper-Divača railway.
The return on equity was at 10%, 6.1 percentage points down from 2018 but still 0.4 percentage points above plans.
The figures were also affected by the receipts in damages compensation for a crane to the tune of EUR 9.3 million in 2018 and EUR 0.4 million in 2019.
Going forward, the company will face the challenge of the coronavirus outbreak. CEO Dimitrij Zadel has recently said that the company is yet to feel the impact of restrictions in China.
Zadel would not speculate about expected decline in throughput yet, but he did say that transhipment of goods from China represented 30% of the port's total transhipment.