Port Otago can look forward to some return on its 15.5%, more
than $50 million stake in rival Lyttelton Port of
Christchurch, which is resuming dividend payments after three
and a-half years.
Following the Canterbury earthquakes, hard-hit LPC suspended
all dividend payments from late-2010 but, with a pending $450
million settlement from insurers, has resumed dividends.
In reporting its half-year result to December yesterday, LPC
chairman Trevor Burt said 2c per share would be paid in
Port Otago raided LPC shares in 2007, paying $37 million at
the time to form a blocking stake against a planned sale and
takeover of LPC, which was subsequently shelved.
Port Otago had, until the dividend suspension, received about
Yesterday, its 15.5% stake, or 15.85 million shares, were at
$3.30 per share worth $52.2 million, while its dividend due
next month would be $315,000. LPC's 75% majority shareholder
is the Christchurch City Council, which should be in line for
about a $2.2 million dividend.
Port Otago chairman Dave Faulkner, who could not be contacted
yesterday, inherited the LPC stake, and had maintained it
should be considered a long-term holding.
However, his stance softened last month when he said it was
''prudent'' to wait for the half-year report before making
any decisions on selling or holding the stake.
Mr Burt said LPC had achieved a ''significant profit'' for
the half year, following settlement of its earthquake claims,
noting its highest ever container terminal volume, up 9.2%,
driven by strong imports and rural sector growth.
The gross insurance claim was $450 million and LPC was
scheduled yesterday to receive the balance, after earlier
deductibles of $382.7 million.
LPC booked a 6.4% increase on revenue, from $54.1 million to
Craigs Investment Partners broker Chris Timms said excluding
all earthquake-related expenditure, LPC's after-tax profit
declined from $8 million a year ago to $6.5 million.
''It's a solid result for LPC, given the tough period it has
been through in recent times,'' he said. Port Otago's
half-year result is due next month.