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Port Nelson Reports A Positive Result

Port Nelson Reports A Positive Result

Port Nelson Limited (PNL) has reported a positive year, with the involvement of Unimar Limited in the Rena recovery boosting total earnings before interest and tax to $14.6 million.

Chairman Nick Patterson told the shareholders at today’s Port Company AGM that this was $1.6 million above budget, which he said was particularly pleasing, given the ongoing challenging conditions in the wider economy.
“Port Nelson’s 44 per cent shareholding in Unimar has given our end result a significant lift and has seen the fortunes of Unimar itself change significantly from only 12 months ago,” he said. “It’s been satisfying to see a Nelson-based company having the expertise to take a leading role in this important salvage project, as the New Zealand representative for UK-based Braemar Howells.”

Excluding the Unimar contribution, operating earnings were $12.3 million, down on last years’ $12.8 million.

The Board declared a special dividend of $8 million in March after looking at short and medium term plans, a review of financial projections and of the balance sheet. Further to that it recentlypaid its shareholders, the Nelson City and Tasman District Councils, a final dividend of $3.2 million, and an interim dividend of $1 million in April this year. Mr Patterson said this puts the total dividends paid out since the Port Company was formed in 1988 at close to $122 million.

Highlights of the Directors’ Report to shareholders were:
• Total cargo for 2011/12 was 2.65 million tonnes, down very slightly on the previous year and also below what had been budgeted, mainly due to the reduction in log exports to China from the region, from the middle of 2011 onwards.
• Processed forestry, fish and wine volumes were all above budget, with sawn timber and fruit at slightly lower levels than expected
• Container volumes at 86,178 TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit) were just above the previous record figure of two years ago
• Maintenance costs were well contained for the year, with dredging expenses not as high as expected
• Tax expense was significantly reduced due to buildings and building fit-outs previously notdepreciable now being depreciable
However, Mr Patterson said uncertainty over container shipping services was bringing challenges to regional ports: “After considerable lobbying by a number of key Nelson exporters and ourselves, Maersk made the decision in July to retain a Nelson call, but the uncertainty over the changes only served to emphasise the vulnerability of regional ports in retaining ongoing services.”
Mr Patterson thanked the PNL management team and staff for their efforts over the last year, and voiced his appreciation to importers, exporters and shipping lines for their continued custom.

Maersk Algarrobo at Port Nelson

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