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Christopher Adams

The Business Herald’s markets and banking reporter.

Record half year profits at Port of Tauranga

A ship loads up at the Port of Tauranga. Photo / APN
A ship loads up at the Port of Tauranga. Photo / APN

Port of Tauranga has reported a record half-year profit on the back of growing container traffic and bulk freight volumes.

Underlying profit lifted 13.4 per cent to $39.2 million for the six months to December 2012, the company said in a statement.

Port of Tauranga said the underlying profit excluded a net gain of $35 million on the sale of its 50 per cent stake in cargo handling firm C3 in November 2012.

Revenue increased to $118.6 million from $105.7 million in the same period a year earlier, the company said.

Port of Tauranga said its capital position remained strong and gearing was conservative, with liabilities to total assets at 26.6 per cent, down from 29.9 per cent at the same time last year.

"The results for the six months show the Port of Tauranga continuing to consolidate and strengthen its position as the pre-eminent national freight gateway and we expect container growth to continue as we further expand capacity," said chief executive Mark Cairns.

Shares rose 1.3 per cent to $13.99 following the result.

The company said trade volumes increased 10 per cent to 9.4 million tonnes, compared with 8.5 million tonnes a year earlier, while total exports lifted 16 per cent to 6.4 million tonnes.

Dairy volumes represented the largest increase, rising 87 per cent to 935,000 tonnes, the firm said.

Meat exports rose 31 per cent to 184,000 tonnes, the company said, while log volumes rose 13.8 per cent to 2.6 million tonnes.

"These volumes were underpinned by a significant increase in the number of services calling at the port," Port of Tauranga said. "In the last year we secured seven new shipping services."

Containers handled increased 25.5 per cent to 431,840 twenty foot equivalent units (TEUs), the company said, adding that its container volumes were growing at a faster rate than other New Zealand ports.

The company reaffirmed its previous guidance, saying it expected annual after tax earnings in the range of $75 million to $79 million for the 12 months to June 30, 2013.

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