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South Port bullish on outlook for 2009

Thursday 25th September 2008

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South Port New Zealand, which manages the nation's southern-most port at Bluff, said earnings are trending ahead of last year on higher volumes of fuel, fertilizer and stock foods driven by demand in the dairy industry.

"Our financial indicators are all trending positively with net profit ahead, cash flow at solid levels and bank debt almost insignificant," chairman John Harrington told shareholders at their annual meeting in Bluff.

The port company is building new warehouse for bulk stock food imports, with plans by other companies to develop bulk liquid and dairy warehouse facilities, it said today. It is also watching developments in the energy sector, with L&M Petroleum's search for coal seam gas, Solid Energy assessing lignite resources and exploration companies probing the Great Southern Basin's potential.

South Port is "well placed to offer port facilities," according to a report by Rockport Corporate Finance.

The shares last traded at NZ$2.40 and have gained 12% in the past six months.

Annual cargo tonnage rose to a record 2.25 million metric tons last year, from 2.16 million tons a year earlier, which was the port's previous record.

Southland generates about 12% of New Zealand's total exports.

By Jonathan Underhill

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