Sea Containers docks with pounds 13m

JAMES SHERWOOD, president of Sea Containers, yesterday reported good demand in Asia and positive signs for world trade as the Bermuda- based transport group unveiled a 35 per cent rise on the year in net third- quarter earnings to $21m (pounds 13m).

Mr Sherwood (pictured) said visits to Asia revealed a rather different position than had been reported in the financial press, with China's economy poised for good growth this year, while there was no sign of weakness in international container trade or tourism from Japan. Revenue at the group's passenger transport and ports arm in the UK rose 9 per cent, with profits at its cross-Channel ferry services rising to $7.5m from $4m a year earlier.

Mr Sherwood said a contract had been signed to acquire another ferry business, but the deal would be confidential until it closed. GNER, its UK rail business, is expecting a Government decision on franchise extension which, if favourable, will trigger a $300m (pounds 180m) investment in rolling stock and improvements.

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