* Q4 adjusted EDITDA 190.8 mln euros vs forecast 197 mln
* Sees limited growth this year
* Hit by weakness in Netherlands, lower utilisation
* Shares down 8.7 percent
(Recasts with Q4, analyst quote, share price)
By Sara Webb
AMSTERDAM, March 1 Dutch oil and chemcials
storage firm Vopak missed fourth-quarter operating
profit forecasts and warned of only limited growth this year as
a weak manufacturing sector cuts demand for its services.
Shares in the company dropped more than 10 percent in early
The bulk of Vopak's customers are companies in the oil and
chemicals industries whose fortunes are determined by the health
of the broader economy.
Europe's manufacturing industry has been hit hard by a
prolonged period of economic weakness as governments drive
through austerity measures in a bid to reduce their debts.
A business survey on Friday showed the sector appeared no
closer to recovery last month.
Vopak said its quarterly operating earnings before interest,
tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), excluding one-off
items, rose 8 percent to 190.8 million euros ($250 million),
partly reflecting weakness in its home market.
Analysts in a Reuters poll had expected fourth-quarter
adjusted EBITDA of 197 million euros, with forecasts in a range
of 192 million to 200 million euros.
The stock was down 8.7 percent at 50.31 euros at 0940 GMT,
after hitting the lowest level since mid-January.
"While this was not a big miss it was also not encouraging,"
said ING analyst Quirijn Mulder in a note.
"The main miss was in the Netherlands ... probably due to
higher costs and lower utilisation rates."
Quarterly operating profit in the Netherlands rose 4 percent
from a year ago, while utilisation fell to 87 percent from 95
Vopak said it expected only limited growth in EBITDA this
year, with new capacity coming online only towards the end of
2013. It had originally set an EBITDA target of 725 million to
800 million euros for 2013, but achieved that a year early as
EBITDA for 2012 rose 20 percent to 763.6 million euros.
"The opportunities to grow EBITDA are very limited this
year," Jack de Kreij, chief financial officer, told Reuters.
He said there was little scope for Vopak to improve margins
at its terminals further, while the utilisation rate - which
fell to 91 percent in 2012 from 93 percent in 2011 - was
expected to remain steady at around 90 percent this year.
"That only leaves capacity and we have limited capacity
coming online towards the end of 2013," he said.
Vopak's projects under construction will add 5.2 million
cubic meters (cbm) of storage capacity in the years up to and
including 2015, and result in total storage capacity of 35.1
Vopak offers oil, chemical and biofuel storage in major
ports including Rotterdam, Fujairah, Tallinn and Singapore.
($1 = 0.7649 euros)
(Reporting by Sara Webb; Editing by Hans-Juergen Peters and