ATI looks at PPP projects, Allots P1 billion for ports

Asian Terminals Inc., the country’s second largest port operator, said that it has extra cash for possible port acquisition this year after the company disposed its grains terminal last year.

Eusebio Tanco, ATI president, told report­ers that the company has around P1 billion to spend for port acquisition for this year and expand its presence in the country.

“Any opportunity that may appear in this line of business, we will look into it,” Tanco said at the sidelines of the company’s stockhold­ers’ meeting recently.

“We don’t divert into non-core business we’re very focused on our core business. We will look at all of them,” Tanco said, referring to the ports that were up for privatization.

According to the Philippine Ports Authority, a state firm that manages most of public ports in the country, the government is keen on privatizing the operation of at least five major ports outside Manila this year. These ports in­clude Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Surigao, Zam­boanga and Iloilo.

“At the moment if these ports will be priva­tized of course we will look at it if it’s inter­esting and if it’s good for the company, and good for long term we’ll definitely take it,” Ernst Schulze, the company’s executive vice president said.

Schulze, however, added that the government has not yet laid out its plan on how to carry out the privatization plan on these ports.

The said P1 billion funding for acquisition was additional cash aside from the re­cently announced P1.9 billion capital expen­diture, which mainly go to the expansion of Manila South Harbor, ATI’s flagship port in the country.

Last year, the company sold its Mariveles Grain Terminal to La Filipina Uy Gongco Corp., for an undisclosed amount. Accord­ing to some estimates, the said terminals were worth around P1.6 billion.

The terminal can accommodate vessels of up to 70,000 deadweight tons, discharge cargo at 10,000 metric tons per day and store 180,000 metric tons of both soy­bean and grain cargoes at any given time.

ATI said in its report that its net income for 2010 hit P2.14 billion, or 84% higher than the previous year’s earnings of P1.16 billion.

It posted revenues for 2010 of P4.52 bil­lion, or some 20 percent higher than the P3.77 billion that it earned last year.

Earnings from the operation of its internation­al containers and non-containers at the South Harbor were up by P533.3 million and P110.5 million, respectively, due to the growth in in­ternational trade at the Port of Manila.

Also last year, the government allowed the company to increase its rates by 7% effective January 1, 2010.

Revenues from its domestic terminal operations in Manila went up by P93.2 million due to higher container volumes, while cash flow from the Port of Batangas increased by P37.3 million due to higher volume of cargoes handled by the Roll-on/Roll-off vessels and also more passengers used sea transportation last year.