Solid Energy, cruise ship revenue losses pull Port of Lyttelton down

Christchurch city’s Port of Lyttelton turned in a 16.5 percent reduction in profit for the half year to Dec. 31, largely reflecting reduced coal export volumes from troubled state-owned coal miner Solid Energy and the loss of insurance cover for cancelled visits by cruise ships.

Profit after tax for the period was $8.0 million, compared with $9.5 million in the same period last year, prior to adjustments for earthquake impacts. Once those adjustments are taken into account, net profit was up 15.1 percent to $3.3 million.

However, the company’s nominated metric for earnings guidance is the pre-adjustments figure.

Full year net profit was expected to be between $13 million and $15 million for the full financial year, down from $17 million last year, largely thanks to a projected $700,000 reduction in net earnings from Solid Energy coal shipments and the fact there will be no repeat of the $1 million insurance payout for cruise liner cancellations.

The port and city were damaged in the Canterbury earthquakes, but the port had been receiving business interruption insurance payments to cover lost income from cruise liners skipping a layover in Lyttelton.

The result was earning on a 4.5 percent increase in revenue to $54.2 million, with increasing dairy volumes and expanding facilities in the Christchurch region driving growth.

No dividend will be paid, in line with a policy to suspend distributions until all insurance matters stemming from quake damage are settled.

On that front, the company says “good progress is being made in all areas.”

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