Ezra Sails Ahead with Continued Uptrend in Operating Profits

Ezra was able to boost its net attributable profit (PATMI) from ongoing activities by 33% year-on-year (yoy) for the nine months ended May 31, 2009 (9M FY09), thanks to sturdy contributions from all three divisions.

PATMI from ongoing activities rose to US $43.0 million from US $32.4 million in 9M FY08, after excluding the US $136.3 million net gain from the partial divestment of the Group's construction and production arm, EOC Limited, in the previous year.

Group turnover also rose sharply, by 58% yoy to US $236.0 million, as all three divisions performed well. The offshore support services (OSS) and marine divisions both enjoyed a strong pickup in revenue, while the energy services division contributed US $46.1 million to overall turnover. In addition, both the OSS and marine businesses were able to achieve margin gains.

The OSS division, which made up 60% of Group turnover for 9M FY09, saw improved sales, owing to the full nine-month contribution from two anchor handling tugs and three anchor handling, towing and supply (AHTS) vessels, as well as the seven-month contribution from its AHTS vessel, the Lewek Plover. Meanwhile, the marine division benefited from increased procurement, equipment supply and engineering activities in Vietnam.

Ezra's Managing Director, Lionel Lee, said, "We expect demand for our mid- to large-sized vessels and our offshore support and marine services to remain robust, supported by the recent influx of contracts awarded by oil majors and national oil companies. On top of this, we plan to explore new market segments that will help us extract greater value for our shareholders."

Ezra's plans to seek out and capitalise on lucrative opportunities in the sector have been underway for some time. To prepare itself for a fresh thrust in this direction, the Group raised gross proceeds of S$92.4 million for pre-emptive capital via the placement of 78 million new ordinary shares at S$1.185 apiece in May.