Lyttelton resumes dividend payments

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 March.

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 $2.7 million.

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 $57.6 million.

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.


Add a Comment

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter