Port Otago is expecting to make a decision within six weeks
on when it might start its multimillion-dollar dredging
At its board meeting on Tuesday, both the dredging programme
and the port company's 15.5% stake in competitor Lyttelton
Port of Christchurch (LPC) were discussed, Port Otago's Dave
Faulkner said, when contacted yesterday.
Port Otago has several dredging options, and is putting in
place eight water clarity monitoring sites around Dunedin's
harbour and seeking expressions of interest from
international dredging companies.
''There's been no [start] decision on dredging, but that
should be made within six weeks,'' Mr Faulkner said.
Port Otago's controversial takeover-blocking stake in LPC,
which cost $37 million in early 2006, at $3.20 per share
yesterday was valued at $50.7 million - $13.7 million up on
the purchase price.
Without dividend payments, the question arises whether the
$50.7 million could be put to better use elsewhere; as either
an investment, in capital expenditure or used to pay off
Port Otago is estimated to have received $2.7 million in
dividends, but LPC had suspended all dividends, including to
the 75% shareholder the Christchurch city council, since
When asked about retaining or selling the stake, Mr Faulkner
said it was ''prudent'' to wait until listed LPC delivered
its half-year financial report to the stock exchange,
scheduled for February 28.
''We'll wait for the half-year report and the dividend
policy,'' Mr Faulkner said.
LPC was hard-hit by the Canterbury earthquakes and had not
been paying dividends, but in December settled with its three
insurers on a full and final payout of $450 million.