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Lyttelton Port boosts FY earnings 40%

Lyttelton Port boosts FY earnings 40% on growing imports for rebuild, more log exports

By Paul McBeth

Aug. 29 (BusinessDesk) - Lyttelton Port Co, Christchurch's ocean hub, boosted annual earnings 40 percent as it benefitted from a growing volume of imports for the city's rebuild and increasing log exports.

Stripping out insurance flows and writedowns associated with Canterbury's spate of earthquakes, profit rose to $17 million in the 12 months ended June 30, from $12.1 million a year earlier, the Lyttelton-based company said in a statement. Revenue climbed 14 percent to $104.5 million and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation gained 4.4 percent to $33.7 million.

Including the quake impacts, net profit fell to $17.2 million, or 16.8 cents per share, from $24.1 million, or 23.6 cents, a year earlier.

"The port handled record volumes through the container terminal, plus other cargoes continued to grow throughout the region during this new seismic era," chief executive Peter Davie said. "The port remains a critical component of Canterbury's strategic infrastructure and is essential in the rebuild of the Canterbury region."

Last month, the Lyttelton hub got a windfall after Timaru's PrimePort lost its container shipping services when global shipping lines Maersk and Hamburg Sud pulled the pin on the South Island's sixth biggest city.

Lyttelton Port increased total container volumes (TEUs) 16 percent to 336,182 with a 17 percent lift in dry bulk imports to 584,164 tonnes and an 8.8 percent gain in log export volumes to 282,382 tonnes.

The company recognised an additional insurance accrual of $18.4 million, taking the total carrying value of insurance receivables to $29 million as at June 30. Some $52 million of claimable business interruption losses and preliminary damage costs were incurred since the first quake in September 2010.

Progress payments of $35.7 million have been received, and a $10 million claim has recently been lodged, the company said.

The board will continue to suspend dividend payments until its insurance matters have been resolved.

The shares were unchanged at $2.05 in trading today, and have gained 2.5 percent this year. The stock is rated an average 'hold' by two analyst recommendations compiled by Reuters, with a median target price of $2.30.


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