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Lyttelton's container volumes rise 15%, upgrades profits

Wednesday 22nd December 2010

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Lyttelton Port of Christchurch, which was hit by the magnitude 7.1 earthquake on September 4, is forecasting a higher interim profit after handling 15% more containers in the five months to November than in the same period last year.

The port resumed operation within hours of the earthquake but did suffer damage to its wharves.

It today disclosed a net profit after tax for the five months to November of $5 million, leading it to forecast a profit between $5.5 million and $6.2 million for the six months to December 31. This is up from $3.7 million in the same period last year.

"The company is experiencing strong growth in containers in the current year with volumes for the five months to November being 15% above the same period last year," it said in a statement to NZX.

The port signed a contract with Fonterra last year which increased the volume the port handled from the dairy cooperatives Clandeboye plant.

Chairman Rodger Fisher said the performance was a significant achievement in the post-earthquake environment.

The profit forecast does not reflect any impairment to port assets. Due to accounting requirements in the recognition and timing of insurance proceeds and the related expenditure, the impact on the profit is difficult to forecast.

The company said earlier this month that it did not have a clear view on the value of its insurance claim, which media reported could be between $50 million and $200 million.

The company has insurance cover for asset replacement to current standards, along with business interruption insurance.

The company has also previously called off merger talks with Port Otago Ltd, saying it was reviewing its short and long term asset management and development plans because of the earthquake.

Lyttelton Port was identified as the logical major port for the South Island in a Shippers Council report this year. The port is 78.8% owned by Christchurch City Holdings, the commercial holding company for Christchurch City Council assets. Port of Otago owns 15%.



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