Port profits at Forth Ports, the Edinburgh-based group, reached a record level in 2008, but the company reported overall losses after significant writedowns on its large property portfolio.

Concerns over future property values combined with fears about the UK economic climate to prompt a big dividend cut. The recommended final will be 12p, to give a full-year pay-out of 28.6p, down from 47.7p.

Underlying operating profits in the ports division, adjusted for financing costs and property revaluations, reached a record £47.6m on revenue of £184m, against £38.7m on £159m in 2007. Traffic remained strong at the company’s ports, which are mainly in Scotland, but also include Tilbury on the River Thames.

Financial Times