Matson has record year

LIHUE — Matson, a leader in Pacific shipping, saw its most profitable year to date in 2015.

Last year, the company reported a net income of $103 million, which represents an increase from the $70.8 million the previous year, according to a news release from the shipping magnate.

Consolidated revenue for 2015 totaled an impressive $1,884.9 million, which is also up from 2014.

“Overall, 2015 was an exceptional year for Matson,” said Mat Cox, Matson president and chief executive officer. “Financially, it was the best year in our history. Strategically, we substantially grew our ocean transportation platform with the acquisition of the Alaska trade and we reinforced our position as the service leader in Hawaii, Guam, China and Micronesia.”

The release did not discuss specifics of the company’s profit on Kauai, but focused on the Hawaiian islands, which have historically proven to be profitable.

“We can’t divide out information — particularly financial information for Kauai,” said Keoni Wagner, director of corporate communications. “As a public company, we are subject to selective disclosure and regulations that prevent us from doing that.”

In Hawaii, there were 40,400 volumes of containers and 18,500 volumes of automobiles shipped in the fourth quarter of 2015 alone, according to the release.

Both Hawaii container and automobile volume, which is based on departure date, saw double-digit percentage increases during that time. Automotive volume increased 27.6 percent and container volume increased 17.8 percent.

By the end of 2015, Hawaii container volume increased to 149,500 from 2014, but its automobile volume decreased 0.8 percent, according to Matson.

The 8.1 percent increase in container volume is due to “volume gains” and modest market growth, the release said.

As of February, there were 6,200 people employed in the trade, transportation and utilities industry on Kauai, which includes shipping, according to the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

Shipping falls under the transportation, warehousing and utilities sector. On Kauai, there were 1,500 people employed in that sector. That is 100 more than February 2015.

As a whole, Matson saw a 17.2 percent increase in ocean transportation revenue for 2015, raising revenue to $219.6 million, according to the release.

That increase is credited to recently acquired operations from Alaska, higher container volume in Hawaii, lower fuel surcharge revenue and lower container volume in China service.

In May 2015, Matson acquired Horizon Lines, adding port terminals in Anchorage, Kodiak and Dutch Harbor.

By the end of 2015, the volume of Alaska containers reached 39,100 the release said.

As for the international market, the volume of China, Guam and Micronesia containers decreased in past year.

Looking ahead, Matson officials hope to continue to deliver strong operating results and focus on debt.

“Matson’s core businesses are well-positioned to generate significant cash flow to pay down debt, fund growth initiatives, including our new vessel investments, and return capital to shareholders via both dividends and share repurchases,” Cox said.

“The integration of our Alaska operations continues to progress well and will remain a focus this year. Our investment in Alaska is supported by the attractive cash flow and earnings generation characteristics of the business and is on track to achieve our earnings and cash flow accretion expectations.”

The numbers for the first quarter of 2016 are expected to be released in May, Wagner said.

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