Matson falls in the first

Matson turned in a first-quarter profit Tuesday but the result was lower than what it carded 12 months prior.
Matson is based in Honolulu.

Matson is based in Honolulu.

The New York-listed containership operator reported net income of $3.4m for the three months to 31 March, versus a profit of $9.1m in the comparable period a year ago.

In the Honolulu-based carrier’s earnings report it noted ocean transportation operating income fell 49.2% to $9.1m year-on-year.

Matson blamed the decline on the timing of fuel surcharge collections, a 2.9% decrease in Hawaii container volume and lower China freight rates.

“In addition, the company incurred $1.0m in legal expenses related to the molasses released into Honolulu Harbor in September 2013,” it added.

“Partially offsetting these decreases to operating income were freight rate increases and cargo mix improvements in Hawaii and lower outside transportation costs.”

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (Ebtida) fell to $27.3m from $36m year-on-year.

Despite the dip Matt Cox said management continues “to be encouraged” by its prospects in Hawaii and “a strengthening broader economy” going forward.

“While the timing of fuel surcharge collections significantly impacted financial results during this quarter, our businesses are running well and continue to generate substantial cash flow,” he added.

“Coupled with our recent debt financing, we have ample capacity to fund our newbuild vessel commitments, pursue growth opportunities and maintain a healthy dividend."

Excluding a $10m litigation charge Matson said it expects full-year ocean transportation operating income to stand “near or slightly above” $104.3m, the total tallied at the end of 2013.

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