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Northland Port profit rises 7.7%; pays sea-tow dividend

Monday 1st September 2008

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Northland Port Corp., which owns a half stake in the port facilities at Marsden Point near Whangarei, reported a 7.7% gain in full-year profit after an asset sale.

Net profit rose to NZ$10 million, or 23.12 cents a share, from NZ$9.3 million, or 21.46 cents a year earlier the company said in a statement. Trading revenue rose 11% to NZ$490.5 million.

The company controlled by Northland Regional Council has transformed from a port operator to an investment company with holdings ranging from property development to cool stores and cargo handling. As a result, assets are bought and sold and its revenue tends to be lumpy.

Cargo volumes through Northport, its port joint venture with Port of Tauranga, were 1.4 million metric tons last year, below the company's budget. Profit was swelled by a NZ$7.6 million one-time gain from the sale of the company's half stake in marina and waterway venture Marsden Cove.

During the year, the company said a NZ$5.5 million debt due by Sea-Tow, a tug and barge operator, was settled and as a result Northland Port will pay a special dividend of 12 cents a share. It will also final ordinary dividend of five cents a share, bringing total payments for the year to eight cents, down from 11 cents in the previous year.

Shares of Northland Port, which are 72.3% owned by the regional council, rose 4.2% to NZ$2.96, trimming their decline this year to 19%.

By Jonathan Underhill

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