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Ports of Auckland Financial Result

Wednesday 20 September 2006

Ports of Auckland Financial Result

Ports of Auckland announced its year ended June 2006 financial result today. Net Profit After Tax (NPAT) was $35.5 million against $38.6 million for 2005.

Chief Executive Geoff Vazey said: “2005-06 was a particularly eventful and challenging year. Global shipping mergers saw major changes to most shipping line services and calling patterns in New Zealand. Higher costs, in particular fuel, electricity and one-off infrastructure repairs, impacted adversely upon the Company’s financial result.

“In this tough environment Ports of Auckland experienced satisfactory growth with total annual container volumes increasing 6.5%. Significant progress was made in regard to our strategy of investing in capacity and capability with the purchase of three new cranes, 11 new straddle carriers, the first half of the nine hectare Fergusson container terminal extension and the opening of the Wiri Inland Port. “

Total earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT), excluding unusuals, were $68.6 million against $70.1 million for 2005. Interest charges were up 98% to 15.2 million, mainly due to a balance sheet restructure during the year.

Operational performance

Port Operations EBIT, including unusuals, was $59.8 million against $58.9 million for 2005 (excluding unusuals: 2006 $60.3 million, 2005 $61.6 million). Port Operations represents the shipping and cargo handling area of the Company’s business activities.

Total container volumes increased to 686,077 TEUs* as compared with 644,306 in 2005. Full import and full export container volumes rose 6.9% and 11.4% respectively. The increase in volumes was the result of both market share gains and underlying economic growth. Transhipment and empty containers, which are also a revenue source, account for the balance of the total volume.

Ports of Auckland increased primary export volumes of dairy and forestry (excluding logs and chip) by 40% and 25% respectively.

Total breakbulk (non-containerised) volumes for the year were down 8% to 4.6 million manifest tonnes, as compared to 4.9 million in 2005. This was largely due to the decline in imported used vehicle volumes.

Investment Property EBIT was $6.0 million against $4.5 million last year. (excluding unusuals: 2006 $6.0 million, 2005 $6.9 million).

The Company released its initial Concept Plan for the evolution of the Tank Farm site in September 2005. Eminent San Francisco designer Peter Walker, in conjunction with local firm Architectus, developed the concepts which are intended to transform the largely industrial area into a world-class waterfront precinct.

Public response to the Concept Plan was overwhelmingly positive with 88% of survey respondents rating the Plan excellent or very good. Ports of Auckland has taken onboard consultation feedback and is working with Auckland City, ARC and its shareholder ARH on a further modified Concept Plan. This will be available for consultation towards the end of 2006.

Board and management

Mr Gary Judd QC became the new Chairman of the Ports of Auckland Board of Directors upon the retirement of Mr Neville Darrow on 30 June 2006. Mr Judd is also Chairman of ASB Bank Limited and ASB Group (Life) Limited.

Chief Executive Geoff Vazey has been appointed Managing Director until his retirement from Ports of Auckland in August 2007.

This year marks Mr Vazey’s tenth year in the Chief Executive role. He joined the Company in 1988, after positions as General Manager of Robt Stone & Co. and General Manager of A&T Burt Mechanical.

Outlook

The new financial year has started well with full container volumes continuing to be strong. Export full containers are consistently growing faster than import fulls which is very good for the New Zealand economy. Volumes flowing through the port suggest the New Zealand economy is in better heart than is generally being reported.

* Container volumes are measured in TEUs (20-foot equivalent units – or the size of a standard 20-foot container).

ENDS

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