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SM SAAM Gains to 6-Week High in Chile as Margins Improve

May 6 (Bloomberg) -- Sociedad Matriz SAAM SA, Chile’s only publicly traded port operator, rose to a six-week high after reporting profitability gains amid higher tug boat revenue.

The shares advanced 0.9 percent to 55.48 pesos in Santiago, its highest price since March 22. Volume was more than twice the daily average of the past three months. The country’s benchmark Ipsa stock index retreated 0.3 percent.

SM SAAM, spun off last year by the shipping company Cia. Sud Americana de Vapores SA, reported net income of $16.8 million in the first quarter, a 7 percent increase from a year earlier, according to filings posted May 4 on the website of Chile’s securities regulator. Santiago-based stock-analysis firm CorpResearch SA wrote today in an e-mailed note today that the results were in line with its estimates.

“We expect a slightly positive impact on the stock,” Pedro Letelier, an analyst at CorpResearch, wrote in the note. “The company posted an improvement in margins mostly due to the tug boat business, thanks to higher depreciation from the acquisition of new boats and management efficiencies.”

The company’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization represented 21.7 percent of revenue in the quarter, 0.9 percentage point higher than a year earlier, Letelier wrote.

SM SAAM, based in Santiago, owns concessions to operate ports in Chile, Ecuador, Mexico and the U.S., according to its website. It also owns a fleet of tug boats that operate in 10 Latin American countries and provides logistics services in Chile, Peru, Uruguay, Colombia and Brazil.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eduardo Thomson in Santiago at ethomson1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Papadopoulos at papadopoulos@bloomberg.net

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