Matson profit slips but beats expectations

US containership owner expects moderately lower volumes in 2016.

Matson reported a fourth-quarter profit that was lower than a year earlier but that beat analyst expectations.

The Hawaii containership operator also said it expects volume declines this year as its Alaska market faces economic headwinds.

The New York-listed company reported net income of $26.6m in quarterly net income, a 4.3% decline from the same period of 2014.

But without the costs of its takeover of rival Horizon Lines, adjusted earnings per share amounted to $0.68, above the average analyst forecast of $0.62.

The result pushed full-year net income to $103m, an increase from $70.8m in 2014.

Matson earnings snapshot

Q4 2015

Q4 2014




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Operating income



Net income



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“2015 was an exceptional year for Matson,” said chief executive Matt Cox. “Financially, it was the best year in our history.  Strategically, we substantially grew our ocean transportation platform with the acquisition of the Alaska trade and we reinforced our position as the service leader in Hawaii, Guam, China and Micronesia.”

Matson said quarterly revenue jumped 11.6% to nearly $495m. The company’s ocean transportation segment saw westbound market growth and volume gains in its Hawaii trade lane, thanks to a reconfiguration by key competitor Pasha and to a strong economy in the island state.

Looking forward, Cox said 2016 should bring strong operational results, but volumes will dip.

Ocean transportation operating income should be “modestly lower” than the $189m reported in 2015.