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Lyttelton Port profit drops 35%, full year result to be at low end of forecast range

Friday 26th February 2010

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Lyttelton Port, which is in talks for a possible operational merger with Port Otago, posted a 35% drop in first-half earnings and said full-year profit would be at the bottom of its forecast range.

Net income was $3.7 million, or 3.6 cents a share, in the six months ended December 31, from $5.7 million, or 5.5 cents, a year earlier, the company said in a statement yesterday. Sales dipped 2.4% to $42 million.

“We anticipate that volumes will increase in the second half of the financial year, however, the year to 30 June remains very challenging,” said chief executive Peter Davie. “Our full year NPAT expectation remains between $9 and $10 million as previously advised to the market, with the likelihood that the result will be at the bottom end of this range.”

The shares last traded at $2.45, valuing the port at $250 million, and have edged down 2% in the past month.

Container volumes rose 0.6% to 134,200 TEUs in the first half, while the volume of logs soared 112% to 130,800 tonnes.Bulk fuel fell 3.2% to 523,800 tonnes, coal exports dropped 9.7% to 855,200 and dry bulk dipped 3.8% to 276,000. Some 12,200 motor vehicles were imported through the port, down 6% from a year earlier.

This month Lyttelton and Port Otago said they have agreed to continue discussions on a potential operational merger, having considered an assessment of the proposal from advisory firm Antipodes. They haven’t released the report.

Lyttelton will pay a first-half dividend of 1.5 cents a share, fully imputed.


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