Tauranga profit fall from logs

Log volumes through the Port of Tauranga fell in the six months to December. Photo supplied.
Log volumes through the Port of Tauranga fell in the six months to December. Photo supplied.
Declining log volumes overshadowed increased container throughput at the Port of Tauranga - delivering a 2% decline in after-tax profit at $38.5 million.

Total revenue for the half to December declined from $137.1 million to $136.3 million with underlying after-tax profit down from $39.3 million to $38.5 million - but with the interim dividend up from 21c a year ago to 22c.

Cargo across the wharves was up from 9.92 million tonnes to 10.03 million tonnes and container throughput rose from 381,038 to 426,512 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units).

However, log exports were well down on last year's 3.40 million cubic metres to 2.82 million cubic metres.

Forsyth Barr broker Peter Young said the lower result was driven by a 17% decline in log export volumes, and only partially offset by the 12% increase in container volumes.

''Cash flows remain robust, but earnings visibility concerns are rising given the new Coda JV,'' he said in reference to the Kotahi joint venture with Fonterra and shipping giant Maersk.

POT's joint venture with Kotahi, named Coda, will consolidate its transport operations with DTL's and Fonterra domestic logistics business Kotahi.

DTL is privately owned and offers no financial insight, which hinders forming an economic view of the transaction, Mr Young said.

POT was guiding to a full-year result similar to last year's, of about $78 million, at the bottom end of its previous guidance range of $78 million to $83 million, he said.

The near-term log export outlook remained ''challenged'' but over the medium term, Mr Young expected improvement based on the central North Island's harvest profile.

He noted $50 million dredging proposals were pushed back to full-year 2016, suspecting POT wanted to delay a decision, should Maersk opt to use bigger ships able to visit Auckland.

simon.hartley@odt.co.nz

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