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Port Taranaki lifts 2018 dividend on increased profit

Tuesday 21st August 2018

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Port Taranaki lifted net profit 14 percent in the latest financial year on increased revenue, and paid a bigger dividend to its sole shareholder, the Taranaki Regional Council.

In the year to June 30, net profit rose 14 percent to $8.3 million, on a 9 percent lift in revenue to $45.6 million. The port will pay a $9 million dividend to the regional council, up $1 million from a year earlier. It has paid higher dividends to the regional council over the past few years, lifting the payment to $8 million for the 2017 year from $4.9 million in 2016. 

Trade volumes rose 1.2 percent to 5.14 million tonnes in the year and ship visits gained 10 percent. The port's log business improved, up 42 percent to 692,000 JAS (the Japanese Agricultural Standard cubic metre), a global industry measurement of log volume. Dry bulk volumes rose 39 percent to 792,000 tonnes, while bulk liquid volumes dropped to 3.63 million tonnes from 3.98 million tonnes due to planned shutdowns.

Methanex New Zealand, the country's biggest gas user and the port's largest customer, and port chief executive Guy Roper said methanol volumes were down significantly in the second half due to planned maintenance. He expects bulk liquid volumes to recover in the next financial year.

In July, Methanex signed supply agreements for more than half its annual production for the next 11 years. Roper said the port was delighted by the announcement and has "also been buoyed by the confirmed offshore oil and gas exploration programmes planned in the coming summer and will be on-hand to service and support this work."

Log demand from China has been strong and the port is working to store more logs and develop a logs-on-rail service from the Whanganui area to meet growth forecasts, Roper said. The increase in dry bulk volumes partly came from the drier summer pushing farmers to need more supplementary feed. 

Chair Peter Dryden, who was appointed in September last year, said forecast trade levels, expected increased log exports and the return to full production of oil and gas customers mean the outlook is positive.

"Growth prospects will continue to be explored, investment in our assets will be ongoing, and we will invest in our vessel and landside planning to further gain efficiencies, therefore improving the profitability of our customers," Dryden said.

(BusinessDesk)

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