Petrochemicals help boost port profit

SUSAN STRONGMAN
Last updated 05:00 01/04/2014

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Port Taranaki is going full steam ahead.

A report for the six months to December 31 showed the company's profit was up 28 per cent to $4.6 million, compared with $3.6m in 2012.

The increase in profit for the port, owned by the Taranaki Regional Council, was attributed to an increase in total trade volume, up 200,000 tonnes compared with the same period in 2012.

Port Taranaki chief executive Roy Weaver said the recommissioning of Methanex's Waitara Valley plant and the lift in offshore trade to drilling rigs Kan Tan IV, Ensco 107 and the Noble Bob Douglas, were to thank for the increase.

The report to the council said the balance of port trade was "swinging back towards petrochemicals with solid activity levels in exploration, development and production over the next few years."

The provision of offshore services to the petroleum exploration and production sector by Port Taranaki was up 50 per cent compared with the same time in 2012, the report said.

Similar conditions for the following six months were predicted.

The port pays a dividend to the TRC and the money is used to offset rates increases.

Port Taranaki had matched the council's dividend budget of $3.7m as set out in the 2013-2014 Annual Plan, paying $1.85m in September 2013 and an interim dividend of the same amount, which equates to 40 per cent of net profit after tax.

Previous statements of corporate intent set the dividend level at 60 per cent.

"The port is making more money," Weaver said.

He said this meant the port was able to pay the same amount of dividends at a lower percentage, enabling the port to retain more money, which would be spent on projects and creating a strong balance sheet.

Port Taranaki's focus for 2014 would be the demolition of the power station and development of the site.

It would also focus on an expansion of property, improving offshore servicing capabilities and working to establish Bathurst Coal's operations in the port.

The continued development of the port's presence in Whanganui, where it runs an inland port, would also be a focus.

Regional council chief executive Basil Chamberlain said the report was a "very positive reflection of how busy Taranaki is".

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- Taranaki Daily News

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