Quake factor in CentrePort loss

DAVE BURGESS
Last updated 05:00 07/03/2014

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Damage from last year's Seddon earthquakes cost Wellington's CentrePort $12 million - a big factor in the company posting a six-month loss of $200,000.

CentrePort chief executive Blair O'Keeffe said the two quakes that rattled the region in July and August caused the collapse of the port's south seawall, and damage to a "small number of piles, paving and commercial property, notably [the] BNZ building, which we own 50 per cent of".

The BNZ Harbour Quays building sat empty for more than six months after it suffered extensive interior damage in the earthquake swarm. It cost more than $10m to repair the damage from the largest 6.5-magnitude quake in July, which caused part of the ceiling of the fifth floor to collapse and water pipes to burst.

BNZ had to spend large sums of money to lease temporary offices in the city, while many employees worked from home.

A BNZ spokeswoman said about 500 staff had returned to the building this year, with the remaining 700 expected to return in the coming weeks.

CentrePort's $200,000 loss was reported in its half-year results to December. They show the company performed solidly, increasing its underlying net profit after tax to $6.2m, compared with $5.1m in the same period in 2012.

Mr O'Keeffe said the result was supported by an increase in log, vehicle and container trade.

"The trading profit is 20 per cent higher than the corresponding period last year [2012] and 14 per cent above the company's previous best result."

However, when the one-off earthquake expenses and fair-value adjustments were factored in, the company posted a $200,000 net loss.

CentrePort chairman Warren Larsen said there had been no interruptions to trade as a result of the earthquakes.

"The business is performing well, as reflected in the increased trading profit. The earthquake repairs are well under way and the business will absorb the costs this year. We expect a return to profit by year end [June 30]."

CentrePort does not expect to incur any more earthquake-related expenses in the second half of the financial year.

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- The Dominion Post

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