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Ports of Auckland reports higher profit, car imports up

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Aug 18 NZPA - Ports of Auckland Ltd, New Zealand's largest container port, has posted a rise in annual profit as it controlled costs and handled more containers and more car imports.

The port's activity is regarded as a leading indicator for the economy. Last week it said it handled 3 percent more containers in the year ended June 30 than a year ago.

Today it reported a 17.4 percent rise in vehicle imports and said the last quarter was the strongest in some time.

"It remains difficult to tell if this represents an ongoing trend or simply a restocking after plant and stock was rundown through the recession," managing director Jens Madsen said.

Trans-shipment volumes rose 4.1 percent.

The port reported a net profit after tax of $37.2 million in the year to June 30, up from $5.4 million last year.

Normalised earnings rose 55 percent to $24.4m. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) rose 6.4 percent to $72m. Earnings before interest and tax rose 11.9 percent to $51.9m.

Ebitda for the container division, the largest port business, rose 8.8 percent.

The port will pay a final dividend of $7.197m to its shareholder Auckland Regional Holdings, a subsidiary of the Auckland Regional Council.

It said its return on closing shareholders' equity was 6.1 percent, up from 4.6 percent last year.

"Ports of Auckland achieved some good market gains through the year but the operating environment remains very dynamic and competitive," Mr Madsen said.

"We are handling larger vessels making fewer calls," he said.

Total ship calls fell 5.6 percent to 1530.

Costs fell 3.1 percent to $113.8m. The port is employing more part time and full time stevedores to manage peaks in demand at its container terminals while it continues to work on productivity-related initiatives.

The port has invested in new plant and equipment since it returned to full council ownership.

Overall breakbulk, or non-containerised, volumes rose 6.7 percent to 2.8 million tonnes.

The port welcomed 62 cruise ships, down on 69 last year, but it said 77 would visit next year.

Mr Madsen highlighted a series of strategic milestones achieved during the year, including the completion of consolidating the Fergusson and Bledisloe container terminal operations, the introduction of the Seafuels bunkering service, the opening of the Wiri Freight Hub rail exchange and the establishment of the CONLINXX joint venture with NZL Group to manage the Freight Hub.

The port handles around 40 percent of New Zealand's total imports by value.

At June 30, net debt levels were $258m, compared to $348m the previous year.

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