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Ports of Auckland lifts earnings

Wednesday 18th August 2010

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New Zealand's largest container port, Ports of Auckland, lifted annual net profit near seven fold while its normalised result was up 55%.

The $37.2 million bottom line result for the year ended June 30 compared with $5.4 million the previous year.

The normalised result, which excludes asset writedowns, the sale of Queens Wharf and tax changes in the government's 2010 budget, was $24.4 million. The company, which is owned by the Auckland Regional Council, says this represents a 6.1% return on shareholders' equity, up from 4.6% the previous year.

Managing director Jens Madsen says close management of costs, which were down 3.1% to $113.8 million, and a near 3% rise in container volumes contributed to the strong result.

The container division's earnings before interest, tax depreciation and amortisation were up 8.8%, Madsen says.

The port is paying the council a $7.2 million final dividend, bringing total dividends for the year to $17.1 million which represents 70% of normalised net profit.

“Ports of Auckland achieved some good market gains through the year but the operating environment remains very dynamic and competitive,” Madsen says.

His company has invested in leading plant and equipment and is planning a dredging program to ready it for larger container vessels, he says.

It is employing more part-time and full-time stevedores to manage peaks in demand and is working on productivity-related initiatives, he says.

“Our location at the door to New Zealand's largest market, supported by our substantial capital investment since 2003 in new plant and equipment, means we are geared to deliver for our customers now and into the future.”

Ports of Auckland's arch rival Port of Tauranga is due to report its results tomorrow but said in June it expects a net profit between $49 million and $50 million compared with its $45.2 million year-earlier result. That's before an $11 million non-cash charge to reflect the tax changes.

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