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CentrePort turns to annual loss following Kaikoura earthquake

Thursday 12th October 2017

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CentrePort, the Wellington port operator, turned to an annual loss after damage from November's Kaikoura earthquake last year weighed on its business.

The port company posted a loss of $2.3 million in the 12 months ended June 30, from a profit of $11.6 million a year earlier, it said in a statement. The year-earlier earnings were restated due to a change in the accounting treatment of convertible notes. Underlying profit before earthquake-related income, fair value adjustments and tax slipped 32 percent to $10.8 million. 

CentrePort was forced to suspend operations immediately following the Nov. 14 earthquake last year as it dealt with damage to its buildings and liquefaction and it was forced to modify its services to get them up and running. In the past year, the port has received $173 million of insurance income which helped fund a $28 million temporary works programme to secure 125 metres of the 585-metre wharf. That enabled its two ship-to-shore cranes to resume operations last month. Some 185 piles were driven an average of 40 metres into the soil, and 644 gravel columns were embedded in the ground to reduce liquefaction from future earthquakes.

Speaking in one of the port's dozen or so temporary office buildings in its 'portacom village', chief executive Derek Nind said the past year had been "like a rollercoaster" as the company got the business back up and running, set about assessing the damage from the quake, and worked out whether assets should be demolished or repaired.

The company is expecting further insurance income in the future as engineers and insurers complete their deliberations. It estimates total material damage claims to total $350 million for the port and more than $106 million for commercial properties. It increased the provision for write-downs in the value of its commercial properties to $32 million, from $20.4 million in its first-half accounts. 

The port has told its shareholders, the Wellington and Manawatu-Wanganui regional councils, that it's unlikely to pay a dividend for three years following the quake.

In the latest year, its operating revenue fell 16 percent to $63.7 million, not including $9 million in business interruption insurance. Operating expenses were little changed at $60 million. 

CentrePort said it is now focussing on its long-term plan as it reassesses its strategy following the earthquake and subsequent damage.

(BusinessDesk)

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