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Port of Napier boosts annual earnings by a quarter on log export growth

Tuesday 13th December 2011

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Port of Napier, which is owned by the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, boosted annual earnings by a quarter on growing log exports.

The port operator reported pre-tax earnings of $18.8 million in the 12 months ended Sept. 30, up from $15.1 million a year earlier, it said in a statement. That was on an 11 percent increase in revenue to $54.1 million after the company increased exports 9.4 percent to 2.87 million tonnes. Adjusted profit, which strips out deferred tax charges, rose 25 percent to $10.9 million.

More than a third of that export growth was in logs, which broke the million tonne mark for the first time. Last month, the New Zealand Timber Industry Federation blamed an increase in raw log shipments to China for a sharp decline in foreign sales of sawn timber.

“Success for the Port of Napier is linked to its operational capabilities,” chairman Jim Scotland said. “The port is striving to deliver productivity gains and operating efficiencies for customers as we position ourselves for the future.”

The upbeat result for the Napier hub comes as Ports of Auckland faces a $20 million dent to its revenue as protracted industrial action between management and the union cost it a major contract with Maersk, the biggest shipper that comes to New Zealand.

The Napier hub reported 1.7 percent fewer vessel calls at 570 in the year, though charter vessels handled increased 7.9 percent to 273. Charter throughput rose 4 percent to 188,018 TEUs (twenty foot equivalent units.

Port chief executive Garth Cowie said increased local investment added capacity from Hawkes Bay companies, including Etika Dairies, Heinz Watties, McCain Foods, Ravensdown and Pan Pac Forest Products.

The port’s board approved a final dividend of $2.9 million to the council, taking the total dividend to $5.7 million for the calendar year, up from $5.8 million in 2010.

Port of Napier is currently working on a major upgrade to on-port rail lines, having completed additional capital dredging to extend its operating window on 90 percent of tides.

The hub flagged a 35 percent increase in electricity and lines charges, and a 400 percent rise in earthquake and insurance premiums to $1.2 million as significant concerns.

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