Earthquake rebuild helps Lyttelton Port

Lyttelton Port, Christchurch's ocean hub, boosted annual earnings 40 per cent as it
benefited from a growing volume of imports for the city's rebuilding and increasing log exports.

Stripping out insurance flows and writedowns associated with Canterbury's spate of earthquakes, profit rose to $17 million in the 12 months ended June 30, from $12.1 million a year earlier, the Lyttelton-based company said.

Revenue climbed 14 per cent to $104.5 million and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation gained 4.4 per cent to $33.7 million.

Including the quake impacts, net profit fell to $17.2 million, or 16.8c a share, from $24.1 million, or 23.6c, a year earlier.

"The port handled record volumes through the container terminal, plus other cargoes continued to grow throughout the region during this new seismic era," chief executive Peter Davie said. "The port remains a critical component of Canterbury's strategic infrastructure and is essential in the rebuild of the Canterbury region."

Last month, the Lyttelton hub got a windfall after Timaru's PrimePort lost its container shipping services when global shipping lines Maersk and Hamburg Sud pulled the plug on the city.

Lyttelton Port increased total container volumes (TEUs) 16 per cent to 336,182 with a 17 per cent lift in dry bulk imports to 584,164 tonnes and an 8.8 per cent gain in log export volumes to 282,382 tonnes.

The company recognised an additional insurance accrual of $18.4 million, taking the total carrying value of insurance receivables to $29 million at June 30.

Some $52 million of claimable business interruption losses and preliminary damage costs were incurred since the first quake in September 2010.

Progress payments of $35.7 million had been received, and a $10 million claim had recently been lodged, the company said. The board will continue to suspend dividend payments until its insurance matters have been resolved.

Shares were steady yesterday at $2.05.

The stock is rated an average "hold" by two analyst recommendations compiled by Reuters, with a median target price of $2.30.

- BusinessDesk

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n2 at 01 Oct 2014 04:13:59 Processing Time: 401ms