Strike, shipping lines drive Port of Tauranga profits
A protracted strike in Auckland and the addition of seven new shipping services have helped Port of Tauranga deliver a record full year profit.
The country's biggest export hub reported a net profit of $73.5 million for the 12 months ending June 30, up 26 per cent on a year ago.
The result is 10 times higher than when the port listed on the New Zealand sharemarket in 1992.
Revenue for the period came in at $226.2m compared with $185.4 previously, thanks to a 20 per cent gain in trade volumes to 18.5 million tonnes for the year.
Port of Tauranga shares were unchanged today at $12.25 apiece, a record high and about 31 per cent higher than they were 12 months ago.
The port's earnings were boosted by growing containers volumes, which now account for about half of the firm's total trade thanks to a protracted labour dispute at rival Ports of Auckland, and the addition of seven new shipping services during the year by Maersk, the world's second-biggest shipping line.
Trans-shipments - containers transferred from one ship to another - at Tauranga rose 88 per cent to 2.5 million tonnes.
The firm said freight diverted to Port of Tauranga following strikes in Auckland contributed less than a third of the increase in container traffic, which peaked in March.
"Although the Ports of Auckland industrial dispute resulted in a level of container traffic that stretched us, it demonstrated the ease with which we can deploy the extensive latent capacity at our Sulphur Point and MetroPort container terminals in Tauranga and Auckland," said chief executive Mark Cairns.
Earning before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation of $114.3m were 20 per cent higher than a year ago.
The bottom line profit was boosted by a $13.2m lift in the value of the firm's land, buildings, harbour, wharves and hardstanding, which was offset by $1.3m impairment to buildings which were relocated to create space at the Sulphur Point and Mount Maunganui wharves.
Earnings from the firm's six associate companies delivered net profits to $13.3m, up 7 per cent on last year.
A dividend of 27 cents per share was declared taking the final payment to shareholder to 39 cents, an increase of 26 per cent on 2011. Over the port's history, total shareholder returns stand at an average compounding 24 per cent per annum.
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