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South Port back in black

By Phil Boeyen, ShareChat Business News Editor

Friday 8th September 2000

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South Port has continued the winning streak by New Zealand port companies in announcing a $2 million net profit for the year. Last year the company recorded a $945,000 loss.

Its positive result had been flagged earlier on the back of record cargo volumes, mainly due to increased forestry exports.

CEO Mark O'Connor says a key competitive advantage for South Port is its proximity to the southern region's diverse industrial and agricultural base. He says the growing wealth of forestry resource helped in the record loading of logs and processed timber in the latest financial year.

On the import side, increased volumes of fertiliser products and raw materials for the New Zealand Aluminium Smelter.

The company says now that it has exited rural sector investments, including no longer owning Southland Motor Group, it can "vigorously pursue port and logistic related opportunities in an encouraging market."

As at the end of August, South Port carried no debt on its balance sheet, and is looking to establish a more commercial mix of debt and shareholders' equity. It says this is likely to involve a pro-rata offer to buy back shares using funding from bank debt.

A fully imputed 3.5-cent dividend has been declared.

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