(EnergyAsia, August 31, Monday) — On the back of strong demand for its services and expansion of storage capacity, Dutch oil and chemical logistics giant Royal Vopak has raised its earnings expectation by 10% from its previous forecast of 450 million euro. It now expects to achieve an operating profit before depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) excluding exceptional items of around 495 million euro. (US$1=0.7 euro).

The company reported a sharp rise of 16.2% in first half net profit to 114.9 million euro year-on-year while revenue was up by 8.4% to 492.1 million euro. Its earnings per ordinary share surged 15.1% to 1.83 euro.

The company said its worldwide storage capacity expanded by 800,000 cubic metres to 27.9 million cubic metres over the same period. Half of the new capacity came onstream in Singapore.

It expects to add another 2.8 million cubic metres of storage capacity to be added through 2011 at a cost of 1.6 billion euro.

Vopak said its operating profit in Asia rose by 39% to 64.5 million euro in the first half of the year, fuelled by large capacity additions in Singapore and high levels of activity in China. The utilisation rate reached 95% in the first half of the year.

Vopak chairman John Paul Broeders said:

“In the first half of 2009 we vigorously kept pursuing our strategic goals. Our drive remains to realise continuous improvements in operational efficiency, quality, customer service and growth. We will continue to grow capacity in key locations around the world.

“Vopak’s total global terminal network offers close to 28 million cubic metres storage capacity, following an increase of more than 0.8 million cubic metres in six month’s time. During the first half of 2009, a number of large new projects came on stream on schedule. All these efforts and the robust demand for our storage services, especially in the oil business, led to a significant rise in our half-year group operating profit.

“Although we have seen a difficult chemicals market, this has not had a material effect on our overall business up to now. Decreases in throughput in some of our chemical storage activities earlier in the year have meanwhile stabilised. However, it is too early to draw positive conclusions as to the structural recovery of the chemicals market. Given our encouraging results so far and Vopak’s growth prospects for the rest of the year we have raised our 2009 outlook.”