Singapore port firm PSA says 2006 profit up 14 pct
SINGAPORE, March 5 (Reuters) - PSA International [PSA.UL], Singapore's state-owned ports operator, on Monday reported a 14 percent rise in 2006 profit and said its main challenge for this year would be to keep its costs under control. The firm, owned by Singapore state investment firm Temasek [TEM.UL], said in statement that its net profit rose to S$1.21 billion ($793 million) last year, from S$1.06 billion in 2005 as it handled a record 51.3 million twenty-foot containers at its ports. "Our main challenge as we expand is to manage the upward trending cost arising from escalating fuel and material prices, an increasingly tight labour market, and a need to customise our services," PSA Chief Executive Eddie Teh said in a statement. Sales rose 1.6 percent last year to S$3.74 billion, while operating expenses shrank slightly to S$2.43 billion from S$2.45 billion a year earlier.
PSA runs the container ports of Singapore, the world's busiest, as well as ports in 14 countries in Asia, Europe and America.
Last April, PSA acquired a 20 percent stake in the ports business of its Hong Kong arch-rival Hutchison Whampoa (0013.HK), the world's biggest operator of ports, for $4.4 billion in a deal the Singapore group described as a pure financial investment.
((Reporting by Jan Dahinten, firstname.lastname@example.org, Reuters Messaging: email@example.com, +65 6870 3571))
($1=1.525 Singapore Dollar) Keywords: PSA RESULTS/
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