Port Otago has repeated its $2.5 million half-year dividend
to 100% owner the Otago Regional Council, but issued a
caution about ''mixed trading'' in the second half. Revenue
for the half-year to December was up from $34.7 million to
$36.6, before-tax profit up from $7.4 million to $8.4 million
and after-tax profit from $5 million to $5.7 million. A $2.5
million dividend was paid, Otago regional councillors were
Port Otago chairman Dave Faulkner said container trade was
down, from 84,000 to 80,000 TEU's (20ft equivalents), because
of lower dairy volumes, while conventional cargo across its
wharves was up 6%, at 673,000 tonnes, including a 15% boost
in log volumes to a record 397,000 tonnes.
''This is probably the longest extended period of log exports
we've seen for very many years,'' Mr Faulkner told the
Mr Faulkner said Port Otago's full-year result was ''likely
to be a little down'' on the previous year, but fewer
containers would be offset by more conventional cargoes.
Subsidiary Chalmers Property was likely to be ahead in its
trading year results, but Mr Faulkner tempered that with the
prospects of final property valuations.
''We're expecting a mixed lot, up and down [second half
trading]. A similar result to last year, before property
Port Otago's result for the previous year to June was a $14.6
million after-tax profit, enabling it to deliver its
second-highest annual dividend to the ORC of $12 million; a
$7 million ordinary dividend and a special $5 million
payment. Dividends paid to the ORC since 1988 now total
Capital expenditure and port development for the half year
was $4.5 million, including the new Vietnamese-built tug
Taiaroa, which has just been launched and is on schedule for
delivery in August, two straddle container cranes and paving
of the log storage area in the upper harbour.
Chalmers Property purchased a $27 million Bunnings site on
Auckland's North Shore, with a 15-year lease-back and another
Auckland property sale reaped $400,000 profit.
Otago regional councillor Gerry Eckhoff questioned the
governance and policy direction of Chalmers Property, and its
role in making freehold land available for sale in Dunedin.
Mr Faulkner said its directors and chairman were those of
Port Otago's board. Chalmers had had many approaches for
freeholding, but he said people appeared to think the land
would be cheaper than the valuations held.