Profits at Sri Lanka’s ports authority surged to 13.2 billion rupees in 2017, up from 1 billion rupees a year earlier, helped by lower forex losses as the rupee steadied and finance costs fells after the Hambantota Port was leased to China, finance ministry data shows.
SLPA was hit by a forex loss of 20 billion rupees in 2015 as the rupee collapsed and 10.02 billion rupees in 2016. But it 2017 the forex loss was only 2.2 billion rupees as the rupee depreciated less and a loan from China was taken off the books after Hambantota port was sold to China.
The debt in its blooks fell to 69 billion rupees from 287 billion rupees a year earlier.
Sri Lanka Ports Authority reported revenues of 43.9 billion rupees in 2017, down 0.3 percent from a year earlier, according to the Ministry of Finance annual report.
The total number of ships calling on Sri Lanka in 2017 was 5,798, up 0.8 percent from the previous year.
The Port of Colombo handled 5,126 ships in 2017, up 1 percent from the previous year while the Hambantota Port saw traffic decline 13 percent to 251.
The ports authority had earlier serviced the Chinese loans which funded the construction of the Hambantota Port.
The Hambantota Port was leased to China for 1.4 billion dollars, with the first tranche of 292 million dollars already been paid.
Sri Lanka Port Authority saw its finance costs fall 89 percent to 481 million rupees from 4.4 billion rupees a year earlier after the ports authority trimmed its debts.
The port authority’s outstanding government and foreign loans fell 73 percent from a year earlier to 60.1 billion rupees in 2017, the Ministry of Finance said.
Outstanding bank loans also fell 28 percent to 8.9 billion rupees. (COLOMBO, 06 June 2018)