Winston Peters' proposal to move Auckland's port to Northport, south of Whangarei, would be a potential boon for Port of Tauranga investors.

Northport is a joint venture between Port of Tauranga and Marsden Maritime Holdings (MMH), both of which are listed on the NZX.

MMH is majority owned by the Northland Regional Council (53.6 per cent), although Ports of Auckland also has a 19.9 per cent stake.

Read more: Winston Peters speaks in Tauranga


Shares in MMH have been tracking upwards since mid-2016 and yesterday closed on a high of $5.20.

The shares have risen more than 50 per cent in the past year on the back of strong growth.

Last week MMH reported that its annual cargo throughput at Northport was up 7.3 per cent to a record 3,646,000 tonnes, including record export log volumes of 2,808,000 tonnes, up by 5.1 per cent.

Port v port

Financial results from Ports of Auckland show it had a very different year to its listed rival Port of Tauranga.

While both saw revenue growth and handled more containers, Ports of Auckland took a hit to its net profit as it moved to invest in greater automation, which is expected to have a big payoff in the longer term.

Port of Tauranga, which reported its full-year result last week, increased its net profit by 7.9 per cent to $83.4 million, while its revenue rose 4.2 per cent to $255.9m.

The port also reported a record year for containers handled, up 13.9 per cent to 1.1 million TEUs - twenty foot equivalent units.

Ports of Auckland, on the other hand, saw its net profit drop 28 per cent to $60.3m, though its revenue rose 5.2 per cent to $222m.

The Auckland port also increased its container numbers, by 5 per cent to 952,311.

Ports of Auckland says its investment in automation will increase its ability to handle 1.6 million to 1.7 million containers a year, and that the current site has the potential to handle up to 3 million containers.

Port of Tauranga shareholders seemed happy with the result, with shares rising 10c to $4.56 on the day, although they have fallen back this week.

Yesterday the shares closed up 2c at $4.45.

Selling Sky?

One fund manager is predicting another blow to Sky TV's share price if a major investor sells.

Castle Point's Stephen Bennie expects Blackrock - which owns 12 per cent of Sky and is its largest shareholder - will sell because Sky no longer meets the requirements for an index which Blackrock tracks.

"Blackrock runs a series of exchange traded funds that target high dividend-yielding companies across a variety of geographies," says Bennie.

"One of the largest is the iShares International Select Dividend ETF which has now grown to $6.3 billion in size. This large ETF tracks the Dow Jones EPAC Select Dividend Index as closely as it can. When stocks are added to that index, in they go; and when they are removed from that index, out they go."

Bennie believes Sky will be removed because it has cut its dividend and its falling share price means it no longer meets the free float minimum of US$750m.

"So on the third Friday in September it will be exit time for Blackrock if Sky TV is indeed removed from the index ... That's a lot of shares looking for a new home so it's likely to be a volatile day for the Sky TV share price." Sky TV shares closed on $2.84 yesterday and are down more than 40 per cent in the past year.

Film out, boots in

Shares in Vista Group - which provides software for the film industry - have softened in the past week, thanks to a belief that the stock will drop out of the NZX50.

Being in the index helps boost investment, as fund managers which track the index have to hold a portion of all the companies in it.

Vista shares have fallen from more than $6 to $5.25 in just over a month, despite it reporting 23 per cent revenue growth and a 59 per cent increase in before-tax profit in its half-year result released last week. Its low level of liquidity and trading is likely to push it out of the index.

On the flip side, rubber producer Skellerup is likely to benefit from returning to the index.
Skellerup shares have been on a steady climb this year, rising by almost 20 per cent.