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Northport banking on India and China for growth

Posted on: March 31, 2009


Bernama – Tuesday, March 31

PETALING JAYA, March 30 (Bernama) — NCB Holdings Bhd’s unit Northport (Malaysia) Bhd expects China and India, which remain on the growth path, to be the key drivers of its port business despite the global economic slowdown.

Currently, Northport has recorded the highest container volume shipments to China and India, which were still registering growth on gross domestic product, said its chief executive officer and managing director, Datuk Basheer Hassan Abdul Kader.

Speaking to reporters at NCB’s annual general meeting here today, Basheer said China and India would offset the decline of trade in the United States and Europe that had affected Northport’s throughput volume.

“We hope the recovery of India and China will impact us earlier than later,” he said.

Basheer said in the first two months, the impact of economic slowdown was greater than indicated and negative momentum in terms of revenue would be felt in the next two to three months.

He said the volume of containers handled had fallen by 14.8 percent for the first two months of this year.

“The decline reflects the current economic condition where Malaysia’s trading partners like Japan reported massive declines in export, up to nearly 50 percent as car shipments to the US and Europe plummeted,” he added.

Earlier, NCB group chairman Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid said the company would not announce any key performance index (KPI) for this year in the interest of investors and shareholders.

“There is too much risk in announcing the KPI because things change every other day. How can we prevent the decline in world trade and prevent a contraction in manufacturing output? That is beyond Nortport,” he said.

For its previous financial year ended Dec 31, 2008, the company achieved a net profit growth of three percent compared with its KPI target of 1.8 percent and recorded 6.8 percent increase in revenue from its KPI target of 5.3 percent.

Ahmad said the company would turn the current situation into an opportunity by looking at current procedures to be more efficient, cutting cost, implementing a customer retention programme and collecting bad debts. — BERNAMA

MI LC

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