Purchase helps lift South Port profit

South Port's acquisition last year of the former Southland Cool Stores helped lift its half-year after-tax profit to $2.9 million from $2.54 million a year ago.

The half-year result was boosted by the addition of Southland Cool Stores cold-storage operation, plus increased fish cargo being stored at South Port's Island Harbour cold-storage facility, chief executive Mark O'Connor said in a statement.

The interim dividend was up from 5.5c last year to 6.5c, and it was intended to repeat a full-year dividend of 20cCargo activity for the six months was down 9%, from 1.39 million to 1.26 million tonnes.

''The decline in cargo was due primarily to weaker export activity, while overall import movements largely maintained their momentum,'' he said.

There were reduced volumes of petroleum products, aluminium smelter import and export cargo, woodchips and logs, which was partially offset by volume gains in fertiliser, stock food and fish.

South Port estimated its full-year earnings would be between $6 million and $6.4 million.

South Port is constructing an additional 5900sq m dry warehouse at the west end of the Bluff Island Harbour, for bulk cargoes such as stock feed and fertiliser.

South Port pilots did a computer simulation exercise in Brisbane, and successfully assessed that Bluff could safely accommodate vessels up to 260m.


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