Port profit masks sombre outlook

LAUREN HAYES
Last updated 05:00 21/08/2014

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South Port has announced a record after-tax profit, but is warning the next 12 months will not be so rosy.

The company marked its 20th year since listing on the NZX with a net after-tax profit of $6.68 million.

Chief executive Mark O'Connor said the result was positive for the company, as it had been predicting profits to be down about 10 per cent on last year's result of $6.5m.

However, the dairy sector and Chinese demand for logs remained strong in the past 12 months, allowing the business to maintain more bulk cargo activity than expected, he said.

The company had achieved a record total cargo throughput level of 2.72 million tonnes this year.

Although the past financial year had finished strongly, the next 12 months were likely to be quite different, O'Connor said.

"We've just beaten [the profit record] by the skin of out teeth. We are definitely expecting a more challenging year than the last 12 months."

There had been a reduction in international dairy prices and in log volume demand from China, he said.

The immediate outlook for these products was not encouraging. South Port had forecast a similar overall cargo level as this year, but a lower level of profit in 2015.

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- The Southland Times

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