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UPDATED: Lyttelton Port posts quake year profit

UPDATED: Lyttelton Port lifts container, coal, log volumes, posts jump in profit in quake year

Aug. 25 (BusinessDesk) - Lyttelton Port Co., which was forced to take a $23 million charge on earthquake damage in its first half and sustained further damaging shakes this year, has reported a jump in full-year earnings and increased volumes of containers, coal and logs.

Net profit rose to $24 million in the year ended June 30, from $9 million a year earlier, the Christchurch-based port company said. The period covered all of the Canterbury quakes and have resulted in about $36 million in insurance payments so far.

“This after-tax result is proof of the underlying strength of the business and reflects solid business growth, particularly in container and coal volumes,” said chairman Rodger Fisher.

“Thanks to the resilience of the Port business and infrastructure, built up over a number of years, and the commitment of its people, the Port and our inland port CityDepot kept operating with minimal downtime,” he said.

Lyttelton, which is 79% owned by the Christchurch City's holding company, handled record container volumes. Total TEUs rose 6.2% to 290,842. Coal exports rose 5.2% to 2.1 million tonnes and log exports grew 8.7% to 259,451 tonnes.

Total tonnage through the port slipped to 9.6 million tonnes from 9.8 million a year earlier, with a 7.6% decline in bulk fuels to 961,698 tonnes, a 1.9% drop in motor vehicles to 25,813 and a 4.1% slide in dry bulk imports to 497,606 tonnes.

Total ship visits fell 17% to 925.

The company has made further claims insurance claims of $18 million, it said today. It has already approved some $33 million of spending to carry out "urgent repair and remediation works" following the Feb. 22 and June 13 quakes.

More claims are likely as the company assesses the restoration work. The port found it harder to get reinsurance after the quakes and currently has "limited insurance cover for the port going forward."

What it can't yet get is cover for natural disasters including earthquakes or business interruption cover.

"LPC is continuing to work with its brokers and insurers to build on this position," the company said.

The shares last traded at $2.

(BusinessDesk)

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