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CentrePort doubles half-year profit in increased log, container volumes

Friday 1st March 2019

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CentrePort has more than doubled its underlying half-year profit, boosted by increased log and container volumes and record cruise ship activity.

Net profit, excluding earthquake impacts and changes in financial instruments, climbed to $11.95 million in the six months through December from $4.76 million a year earlier.

Operating revenue rose 21 percent to $41.3 million. A $5 million increase in operating costs and lower income from business interruption insurance left operating earnings at $6.78 million from $6.39 million the year before.

The Wellington port operator, owned by the local regional council and Palmerston North-based Horizons Regional Council says it is now through the recovery phase from the November 2016 Kaikoura earthquakes which wrecked some of its wharves and much of its commercial property portfolio.

It is paying its council shareholders a $2 million interim dividend, matching the dividend it paid for the entire June 2018 financial year.

The port handled the equivalent of 45,785 20-foot containers in the six months, 22 percent more than a year earlier. CentrePort noted its ship-to-shore cranes had been out of action for half the year-earlier period.

Log volumes were 36 percent higher at about 891,500 tonnes.

The company is continuing to optimise its port space and is in talks with ferry operators and transport authorities on whether to relocate the existing terminals at Kaiwharawhara to cater for the larger vessels KiwiRail wants to have operating from 2023.

It plans to present a “regeneration plan” later this year.

Chief executive Derek Nind said the firm has continued work to expand its inland hub network and has work underway to increase log throughput at its Waingawa hub in Wairarapa by 100,000 tonnes per annum.

“That will remove another 6,000-plus truck movements off the road,” he said.

“Other developments include resilience works on Kings Wharf, and the removal of several redundant and/or damaged structures to increase capacity and throughput for various trades.”

Cruise ship calls increased to 38 in the six months through December, from 24 a year earlier. Fuel volumes were also 6 percent higher at 540,854 tonnes.

Including $8.25 million of net insurance recoveries of associate companies, net profit from continuing operations climbed to $20.2 million from $4.87 million a year earlier.


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