LUKA KOPER, d.d., Koper
Despite financial crisis Luka Koper continues to perform in accordance with plans
Luka Koper Group is a rapidly developing port and services provider, one of the most important in the Northern Adriatic as well as an ever-more significant node in the logistics chain linking Central and Eastern Europe with the Mediterranean and Far East. Despite the stability of Luka Koper operations, the Group has not been entirely immune to events in world financial markets. The financial crisis - which is leading to downturns in growth in the world's major economies - shall ultimately affect performance: growth will not be as strong as in previous years and terms for borrowing will be worsened. This said, however, the company does not envisage any deterioration of its performance as a consequence of current conditions. The demand for port and logistics services, and in particular the handling of the most prospective types of cargo, such as container freight, vehicles and fruits, remains very high.
Such times force companies to become more cost effective, and the Luka Koper Group pays a deal of attention to these issues; at the same time, altered circumstances provide new business opportunities. In order to reduce costs, many companies relocate production to developing markets of the Far East where costs and overheads are cheaper; indeed those exact same economies that are the most important trading partners of Luka Koper. Thus the company anticipates its taking advantage of such circumstances, and expects to continue to increase throughput volumes. Served by excellent road and railway infrastructure, the Port of Koper is also a gateway to the shortest maritime route linking Central and Eastern European with Asian markets, thus navigation and turnaround times are far shorter - and the costs considerably lower - than they are for Europe's largest ports located on the other side of the continent.
Luka Koper anticipates that it will meet its commercial objectives for the year. Total cargo throughput during the first nine months of 2008 amounted to nearly 12 million tonnes, which is 6 percent ahead of the same period last year. 261,000 containers were handled (a 16 percent increase on the same period in 2007) and 457,000 vehicles (25 percent ahead of the same period last year). Furthermore, no decrease in throughput or operating revenue growth is anticipated in 2009, when the effects of the world financial crises will be at its height; growth rates may be lower than in previous years, but cash flows are expected to remain stable. The intensity of the current investment cycle will ultimately have to be scaled back as a consequence of the exacerbated terms of borrowing; nevertheless, key projects aimed at the expansion and modernisation of facilities will not be jeopardised. The first part of new multi-storey warehousing facilities for cars is to be completed later this year, while the construction of the extension to Pier I, as well as other pertinent investments in plant and infrastructure, shall continue. During the remainder of 2008, and over the coming year, new investments - which, on the basis of expert analyses, prove feasible under these changed circumstances - shall commence, and no liquidity or solvency problems are anticipated as a result. The disposal of investments was originally considered an option in the financing of infrastructure projects; however, it is assessed that the timing is not right given present market circumstances. Thus it is anticipated that the implementation of projects will be adapted to market conditions, as well as actual sources of financing.
The inforamtion will be available on company's website www.luka-kp.si from 14th October 2008 onwards.
Date: 14. 10. 2008