Ngai Tahu profit soaring high

ALAN WOOD
Last updated 05:00 08/10/2014

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Ngai Tahu Holdings Corporation (NTHC) has more than doubled its net profit to $160.58 million, helped by property revaluation, residential section sales and seafood exports to China.

The commercial arm of South Island iwi Ngai Tahu reported a net profit last year of $77.9m for the 12 months to June 30, 2013.

This year's bottom line was also helped by insurance proceeds and a profit on Ryman Healthcare shares sold.

The entity, which acts as a charitable trust, has subsidiary businesses in property, seafood and tourism, as well as direct share investments and is looking to diversify its portfolio even further.

Chairman Trevor Burt and chief executive Mike Sang said NTHC was constantly on the search for quality assets, having recently bought New Zealand bus operator Go Bus for $170 million in a joint venture with another iwi, Tainui.

"Certainly if another asset of the quality of Go Bus came up we'd be interested in doing another acquisition like that," Sang said.

Burt said the company's assets had performed well across the board in the financial year. A good measure of the improvement was the increase in the company's operating surplus to $83m, up from $49.2m in the previous year.

The corporation distributed a $31.36m dividend to its owner, Te Runanga O Ngai Tahu, for the year. That was up from $28.25m the previous year.

"We expect it will continue to keep rising steadily," Kaiwhakahaere Ta Mark Solomon said.

There had been $320m invested in tribal development since settlement with the Crown, he said.

Ngai Tahu does not pay tax because it is registered as a charitable trust.

Solomon said another important measure was the increase in net worth of the organisation to more than $1 billion. That figure included shareholder equity of $987.8m, plus other iwi assets including seafood quota.

Sang said property was a particularly strong performer, helped by sales across its subdivisions that include Lincoln, Wigram Skies and now Prestons in Canterbury.

The property division sold 560 sections during the year.

"Also, our seafood has had a record result, particularly mussels and lobster exports to China," Sang said.

"Tourism has improved, and we've also had our (North Canterbury) farming operations come along and make a (profit) contribution this year.

"Our (three) dairy farms have been operating for the full year . . . they're starting to make a positive contribution."

Ngai Tahu Capital, which holds about a 5.5 per cent stake in Ryman Healthcare and also a stake in Waikato Milking Systems, reported an operating surplus of $9.11m.

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Ngai Tahu Property, which is developing a $40m Wigram Skies town centre, showed an operating surplus of $52.62m.

Ngai Tahu Seafood, which benefited from a shortage of green lip mussels, enjoyed a $19.38m surplus and Ngai Tahu Tourism, helped by a royal visit to its Shotover Jet operation, recorded a $4.62m surplus.

- The Dominion Post

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