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South Port first-half profit climbs 19% as fertiliser shipments bolsters cargo flows

Wednesday 7th February 2018

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South Port New Zealand, which operates the country's southern-most port, lifted first-half profit 19 percent as cargo volumes were bolstered by fertiliser shipments, and it anticipates bigger annual earnings. 

Net profit rose to $4.9 million, or 18.7 cents per share, in the six months ended Dec. 31, from $4.1 million, or 15.7 cents, a year earlier, the Bluff-based company said in a statement. Revenue rose 13 percent to $17.5 million on a 14 percent increase in total cargo to 1.73 million tonnes. The gains were in bulk cargo with a 63,000-tonne increase in fertiliser volumes and a 49,000 tonne gain in log volumes. 

"The receipt of bulk fertiliser cargoes was 'front-ended' this year by the customer and the expectations are that these volumes will ultimately realign closer to the projected budget by year end," chair Rex Chapman said. "Market conditions for logs are buoyant and export volumes are expected to remain consistent with some potential upside." 

The board declared a fully imputed interim dividend of 7.5 cents per share payable on March 6,  unchanged from a year earlier. The shares rose 2.5 percent to $6.11. 

South Port expects annual earnings to be between $8.7 million and $8.9 million, up from $8.5 million a year earlier. If profit is in line with that forecast, the board expects to pay a similar dividend, the company said. 

Chief executive Nigel Gear said containerised cargo volumes were down from a year earlier with fewer empty boxes being delivered to the port coinciding with an increase in containerised imports. 

"Unusually dry conditions in the south has also seen an increase in both containerised supplementary feeds being delivered to the port and meat products being exported due to a shortage of feed creating earlier processing demands," Gear said. 


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