Gas fires up port profits
9:20am Saturday 28th April 2012 in Milford Haven
MILFORD Haven Port Authority saw profits rise for the fifth consecutive year last year but is preparing for a potentially leaner time to come.
The exceptionally cold weather of early 2011, and resulting increased requirements for gas, helped to contribute towards a pre-tax profit of £8.1million on a turnover of £29.5m.
That was a rise for the port, the UK’s third largest, from£7.1mon a turnover of £27.8m in 2010.
But while the cold weather fueled the increase last winter, the much milder winter of 2011/2012 is expected to take a bite out of next year’s performance.
Port chairman David Benson said that reduced LNG throughput over the winter, coupled with the challenge of meeting pension obligations, is leading to reduced expectations.
“We have recognised the risks and have worked hard during the year to offset them by making significant contributions towards pension funds and investing heavily in a range of activities to reduce our dependence on petroleumbased shipments over the medium term,” he said.
An example is the recent merger of the port’s ship repair business into Mustang Marine, with an associated investment in facilities to create a centre for excellence in marine engineering.
“We believe that this deal creates a business with the requisite critical mass and resources to achieve significant financial and employment growth over the next few years,” said chief executive Alec Don.
But Mr Don said the energy sector remains vital.
He added: “A report we commissioned from Cardiff University last year clearly highlighted the importance of the energy sector to both Wales and the UK.
We need to make sure this is fully recognised by policymakers, and that more is done to make it easier to invest, operate and employ within the sector.”
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