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South Port posts another record profit

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 18/08/2016 Paul McBeth

South Port New Zealand posted another record annual profit as extra dairy storage helped drive the volume of exports through the maritime hub in Bluff, with a bigger dividend declared.

Net profit rose to $8.7 million, or 33.2 cents per share, in the 12 months ended June 30, from $7.7 million, or 29.5 cents, a year earlier, the company said in a statement. Revenue rose 6.7 per cent to $36.9 million with a 7 per cent increase in bulk cargo to 187,000 tonnes, with gains in shipments of logs and woodchips, and dairy products benefiting from Open Country Dairy's recently expanded storage capacity.

"This past year has, for all its uncertainty, delivered a fourth consecutive improved result for South Port," chairman Rex Chapman said.

"The company has benefited from a diversified exposure to the expanding southern regional economy and the pleasing result has been driven by higher bulk cargo tonnages."

The company had warned scheduled maintenance was likely to fall in the second half of the year, and had projected an annual profit of between $8.25 million and $8.75 million.

However, that run of earnings growth will come to an end in 2017 with a five-yearly review of the port's infrastructure showing an increased need for repairs and maintenance, which Chapman said will have "a material impact on profitability" over the next five to seven years. South Port anticipates earnings will drop by about 15 per cent next year, and will update guidance at the first half result.

The board declared a final dividend of 18.5 cents per share, payable on Nov. 7 with an Oct. 26 record date. That takes the annual payment to 26 cents, up from 24 cents in 2015.

South Port shares were unchanged at $5 and are up 13 per cent so far this year.

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