Performance boost: Initial earnings report seen as vindication of Corporation’s stance on operation of all
full-fledged port, and not partial facility
Conrad Prabhu –
Port Services Corporation (PSC), the operator of Muscat’s Port Sultan Qaboos, has posted a 25.4 per cent jump in gross operating revenue for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2016 — an increase that the corporation sees as a vindication of its argument that operations can still be profitable despite the relocation and transfer of most commercial cargoes to SOHAR Port.
Announcing its unaudited initial financial results, the corporation announced that net profit for 2016 surged 246 per cent to RO 2.716 million compared to a loss of RO 1.860 million in 2015.
Total operating expenses fell 49.4 per cent to RO 3.688 million last year, down from RO 7.289 million in 2015. The latter figure included an amount of RO 1.813 million paid towards voluntary end-of-service benefits to outgoing staff as part of a downsizing of the corporation’s workforce.
Income earned from the Corporation’s substantial portfolio of investments soared 183 per cent to RO 2.760 million last year, up from RO 0.974 million a year earlier.
The upbeat financial performance came as Port Services Corporation secured a one-year renewal of its operating licence from the Ministry of Transport and Communications till December 31, 2017. The 11th hour renewal helped avert uncertainty over the uninterrupted operation of the port as the Corporation was poised to go into liquidation upon the expiry of its previous operating licence on December 31, 2016. Having secured its primary demand to operate and manage all nine berths, as opposed to a truncated facility proposed by the government, the Corporation’s Board of Directors decided to pause all liquidation proceedings and to ensure uninterrupted operations.
Formal ratification of the Board’s decision is expected at an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) of the Corporation’s shareholders set for Tuesday, January 17. Besides seeking to “nullify” its previous resolution to liquidate the Corporation, the EGM will also vote on deferring the liquidation timeline by one year to early 2018 upon the expiry of the now renewed licence on December 31, 2017.
The licence renewal comes as Port Sultan Qaboos is witnessing a 20 per cent jump in cruise calls this winter season. Cruise visits along with port calls by naval ships constitute the mainstay of PSC’s business.