Brownlee invokes earthquake powers to fast-track Lyttelton Port rebuild

Gerry Brownlee
Lyttelton Port
Lyttelton Port 12-month price history (NZX.com)

Repairs at Lyttelton Port Co [NZX: LPC], Christchurch's ocean trade hub which was damaged in the 2010 and 2011 Canterbury earthquakes, are to be fast-tracked by Canterbury earthquake recovery minister Gerry Brownlee.

Using powers under the Canterbury Recover Act, Brownlee has directed Environment Canterbury and the Christchurch port to produce a Lyttelton Port Recovery Plan draft by July 2015 to speed up the process.

"A recovery plan allows for a streamlined process and will see redevelopment occur in at timelier manner than under the Resource Management Act, while still ensuring robust testing of information," the minister said in a statement. "There have been no decisions made on how the port should be redeveloped, but I have determined that a recovery plan is the best tool for timely redevelopment to be achieved."

Last December, the company said it intends to expand the eastern end of the port to build two berths and a long-term container terminal. In February the port resumed dividend payments for the first time since they were suspended in 2010 following damage sustained in the Canterbury earthquakes. The company reached a $438.3 million settlement with Vero, NZI and QBE, of which it recognised $357.6 million in insurance income in the six months ended Dec. 31, 2013. The settlement covers claims under the port's material damage, business interruption and contract works policies.

The NZX-listed company's shares were unchanged at $3.13 and have advanced 4 percent this year. The stock is tightly held with Christchurch City Holdings, the investment arm of the council, owning about 80 percent of the company, while Port Otago holds 15 percent.

(BusinessDesk)

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