Port of Tauranga sees flat underlying earnings in 2014, dairy exports lagging after botulism scare

Port of Tauranga, the country’s biggest export port, expects annual earnings to be broadly in line with a year earlier, and has seen a lag in dairy shipments after the false botulism scare in August.

The company forecasts annual earnings of between $77 million and $80 million in the 12 months ending June 30 2014, chief executive Mark Cairns told shareholders at today’s annual meeting in Tauranga. That compares to underlying earnings of $77.2 million in 2013.

Cairns said first-quarter net profit was about the same as a year earlier, as a 13 percent increase in log exports and a 6 percent gain in trade was offset by a 13 percent drop in containers, “largely due to the lag in dairy exports associated with the botulism scare and also the loss of the import container service.”

The Kotahi freight alliance between Fonterra Cooperative Group and Silver Fern Farms told the port it anticipates a significant increase in export volumes in the coming months, he said.

Port of Tauranga posted a record annual profit in 2013 as it readies for a dredging project to prepare for larger ships. The port is pushing for supremacy in the port sector with dredging expected to start next year, and after investing in its MetroPort facilities in Auckland and taking a 50 percent stake in PrimePort Timaru.

The shares gained 0.2 percent to $13.72 in trading today, bucking the trend where the benchmark NZX 50 index fell 1 percent in afternoon trading.


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