OOIL’s 2004 results “exceed all expectations”



Orient Overseas (International) Ltd. (“OOIL”) announced a profit after taxation and minority interests of US$670.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2004, a 104% increase over the attributable profit of US$329 million recorded in 2003. The Directors are recommending a final dividend of US18 cents (HK$1.4) per share.

The Directors are also recommending a bonus issue of shares on the basis of one (1) bonus share for every ten (10) existing issued ordinary shares.

“The year 2004 has exceeded all expectations and we have outperformed 2003, achieving record levels of total liftings, total revenues and margins.” said Chairman, Mr. C C Tung.

“Our Container Transport, Logistics and Terminals division enjoyed an unprecedented trading environment during 2004 as volume growth kept pace with or indeed, outpaced the rate at which new tonnage was deployed. Business confidence continued to remain buoyant throughout the year and, as a result, total liftings were increased by 21.6% compared with 2003 in which year they had increased by 18.7%. Importantly also, the average load factor for 2004 showed a 2.4% improvement over 2003.”

Our container terminals in North America, two in the Port of Vancouver and two in the Port of New York and New Jersey, made substantial progress in 2004. Combined revenue grew by 15.2% on a 10.4% rise in container box throughput volumes and pre-tax earnings eclipsed 2003 results by 47% as margins expanded. We continue to explore expansion opportunities at our North American terminals and remain alert to opportunities that may arise from time to time to invest in other terminal projects, particularly in Asia. In line with this policy, Letters of Intent have been signed with the Port Authorities of both Tianjin and Ningbo related to investment in the expansion of container terminal capacity in both of these ports. As a result, we shall continue to benefit from the ongoing growth of Chinese trade.

During 2004 OOIL has continued to invest in its technology infrastructure to improve internal processes and customer service. These information technology developments were focused on four key areas: enhancements to IRIS-2, OOCL’s central carrier information system; the launch of a sailing schedule application, SchedulingSmart; the launch of an equipment management system, OperationSmart; and enhancements to its award winning multiple-carrier Internet portal and integration services provider, CargoSmart.

Last year was another milestone year for OOCL Logistics, after 25 years in operation. To enhance its ability to create value for customers, it underwent a major corporate reorganisation during the year but its business model remains as being an independent 3rd Party Logistics Provider while at the same time providing support for the OOCL business as a whole. In the interests of customer focus, the company established three new business units: International Logistics, China Logistics and E-Business. The International Logistics group focuses on serving customers with global sourcing and supply-chain-management needs. The China Logistics group develops sophisticated transportation, warehousing and distribution services in the PRC and the E-Business group provides next-generation applications and e-solutions to reduce bottlenecks and to increase efficiency and responsiveness of the supply chain taking advantage of the OOCL Group’s industry-leading technology platforms.

Our Property Development and Investment division experienced a solid performance during 2004. Performance was satisfactory and ahead of expectations. In addition, we were successful in the acquisition of new projects during the year. In particular, we have assembled land parcels for further projects in Kunshan, Jiangsu Province and central Shanghai. These acquisitions bring our pipeline in total to over 900,000 sq. m. of gross floor area. Our property investment business produc