29 September 2008 15:02 [Source: ICIS news]
By Mark Watts
MONTE CARLO (ICIS news)--Netherlands-based tanker and terminal firm Vopak expects the escalating credit crisis to aid its expansion strategy as financial players are no longer vying for the same assets, CEO John Paul Broeders said on Monday.
“Over the last few years financial players have become extremely interested in our kind of assets and the selling prices of these facilities have gone up so much that we didn’t look at acquisitions,” Broeders told ICIS news on the sidelines of the annual European Petrochemicals Association (EPCA) meeting.
“Now financial leverage is not so easy to obtain, these players are exiting…bringing potential assets to a more realistic price level. Now we’re looking at acquisitions again and there are a lot more assets up for sale,” he said.
Broeders said it was too early to tell what impact the economic crisis would have on business outside the financial world, but said it could have an enormous effect on demand for some products.
“For a lot of new chemicals projects, funding will be a lot more difficult so there may also be a delay in the investments of our customers,” he said.
Vopak reported a 12% year-on-year rise in its net profit for the first half of 2008 to €166.5m, driven by demand growth for storage capacity, and Broeders said the company expected a 10% increase over the full year.
The firm two years ago set a target of €475m-€550m EBITDA for 2011, but Broeders said the company was now on track to reach it in the next two years.
Broeders said the growth was driven by the need for infrastructure in Asia and the ?xml:namespace>
“The aggressive growth is in oil demand because the place where oil is being found and where it needs to go is getting further and further apart and you need tankers in between,” he said.
"The specification of products becomes tighter and requires blending, so a lot of additional tankage is required for the flow going into these markets.”
Another area of strong growth for Vopak was in storage capacity for biofuels, especially at the company’s main hub of
“Over the course of three years, biofuels has gone from zero to €100m [$146m] of our revenue, so that has grown enormously,” said Broeders. “A lot of the chemicals tankage is now being taken up by biofuels and ethanol.”
($1 = €0.68)
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