By James A. Loyola
International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) remains on the lookout for acquisitions and new projects worldwide as it views the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic with more optimism than when it started.
“We have seen the severe impact of the pandemic on global trade flows starting from China in February and cascading to all by the end of March and at this juncture we still do not see the end in sight,” ICTSI Chairman Enrique K. Razon, Jr. said during the firm’s virtual annual stockholders’ meeting.
He added though that, “I can tell you that the impact has not been as severe as we ourselves expected, proving once again the tremendous resilience of our business.”
The global pandemic started to engulf the world in early March and one after another, countries began locking down as the virus spread throughout. By the end of March, every single country where ICTSI operates was on lockdown in one way or another.
“Throughout these lockdowns, all of our ports – without exception –continued 24/7 operations being an essential and vital service,” Razon noted.
But, ICTSI slashed almost all new capital expenditures to almost nothing leaving only those projects that were about to be completed and those absolutely necessary.
“We have cut our capex budget from the original US$270 million to approximately US$160 million, having already spent US$60 million at the time of the pandemic. We have also drastically cut our operating cost budget by 11 percent across the board with further cuts planned,” he explained.
But even during this crisis, Razon said “we are still keenly on the lookout for opportunities to expand our portfolio and continue to be very active in seeking out potential acquisitions or new projects whose potential or valuation makes sense in this environment.”
Given the great uncertainty of many economies and the global economy itself, he said ICTSI has also “shored up our balance sheet, and we will continue to seize every opportunity to further strengthen our finances going forward.”