Forth Ports reported an expected 29 percent rise in first-half profit, driven by growing container volumes and cost cutting initiatives, and said it would look to acquire other port businesses.

Britain’s only listed ports company posted a pretax profit of 16.0 million pounds ($24.6 million) on revenue 3 percent higher at 89.6 million pounds for the six months.

The company was tipped to post a first-half pretax profit of 16 million pounds, according to a Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S poll of five analysts, who expect Forth to report an average pretax profit of 36.2 million pounds for 2010.

“Current trading continues to be encouraging,” Chief Executive Charles Hammond said in a statement.

“The ports’ project pipeline is strengthening and there are greater opportunities to acquire or manage other port businesses.”

Forth Ports, which successfully fought off a 640 million pound takeover approach from shareholders earlier this year, increased the interim dividend by 5 pence to 10 pence per share.

The group, which manages and owns several commercial ports in Britain, including six in Scotland and Tilbury on the Thames, said it had submitted planning applications for onshore wind installations and biomass facilities in its ports in Scotland. (Reuters)