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Marsden Maritime lifts annual profit 24% as Northport cargo rises, asset sales

Marsden Maritime Holdings [NZX: MMH], formerly Northland Port Co, lifted annual profit 24 percent as a stronger result from its half-stake in Whangarei's Northport was supported by asset sales in the year.

Net profit rose to $8.33 million, or 20.18 cents per share, in the 12 months ended June 30, from $6.73 million, or 16.31 cents, a year earlier, the Whangarei-based company said in a statement. Trading profit rose 9.9 percent to $7.92 million, and the bottom line was bolstered by gains of $872,000 from the sale of its holdings in North Port Coolstores (1989) and Northland Stevedoring Services. Revenue rose 8.5 percent to $10.5 million.

"The group's improved trading result had been assisted by a lift in earnings derived from its 50 percent stakeholding in Northport Ltd, where a record cargo throughput of 3.282 million tonnes was handled during the period," chief executive Graham Wallace said. "An increased variety of other goods crossed the wharf at Northport during the year with non-forestry cargos increasing by over 64 percent to 334,000 tonnes."

Marsden Maritime was censured by the stock market disciplinary tribunal last week, which said Northland Regional Council, which holds a 53 percent stake, was a related entity and shouldn't have participated in a vote to hike the pool of director fees because chairman Colin Mitten is also a director of a council-owned subsidiary.

The board declared a final dividend of 6.25 cents per share, payable on Sept. 19 with a Sept. 12 record date. That takes the total payout to 11.25 cents per share in the year, up from 10 cents in 2013.

The shares rose 2.9 percent to $2.83.

Marsden Maritime generated operating cash flow of $7.81 million in the year, up from $6.54 million in 2013, and had cash and equivalents of $1.59 million as at June 30.

The company's port-related operations increased profit 6.8 percent to $8.41 million on a 5.6 percent lift in revenue to $8.98 million. Its property holdings segment turned to a loss of $162,000 compared to a profit of $200,000 in 2013, with a 24 percent increase in revenue to $1.19 million.

(BusinessDesk)