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Northland Port, the investment company that owns half of Northport, reported a 15 percent increase in first-half profit on increased export log volumes across the wharves at Marsden Point.
Profit rose to $3.67 million in the six months ended December 31, from $3.2 million a year earlier. Operating revenue rose 18 percent to $4.92 million.
Northland Port is 54 percent owned by Northland Regional Council and about 20 percent by Ports of Auckland. It owns 50 percent of Northport, with the remainder held by Port of Tauranga.
Northland Port's other interests include stevedoring, cool stores and 185ha of land at Marsden Point. The bulk of its earnings come from port operations.
Total cargo volumes through the port rose 11 percent to 1.54 million tonnes, of which logs accounted for 1.14 million tonnes.
Rising volumes across the wharves are putting pressure on existing storage capacity, prompting the port to accelerate plans to pave a further 3ha of land. That work is expected to be complete by the end of the financial year.
Chairman Sir John Goulter says annual cargo throughput at Northport is forecast to rise above 3 million tonnes from 2.7 million tonnes a year earlier.
"Assuming this projected volume is reached, a further uplift in the overall profitability of the group can reasonably be expected," he says.
The company will pay a first-half dividend of 4.5 cents on March 22, up from 3.5 cents a year earlier.
Shares of Northland Port last traded at $2.99 and have gained 24 percent this year.