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South Port 1H profits weaken as warehouse returns ebb, offsetting gain in cargo volumes

South Port New Zealand [NZX: SPN], which operates the wharves at Bluff in Southland, posted a 7.7 percent drop in first-half profit as a rise volumes of cargo such as fertiliser, stock foods and logs was offset by lower returns from warehouses.

Profit fell to $2.68 million in the six months ended Dec. 31, from $2.9 million a year earlier, the company said in a statement. Sales rose 5 percent to $14.6 million.

The company reiterated its guidance for full-year earnings to fall in the range of $5.8 million to $6 million, down from $6.5 million a year earlier.

The speed at which meat, fish and dairy crossed its wharves hurt warehousing margins for the company's cold storage division, though it said increased bulk cargoes will help it meet the full-year forecast.

Another significant cargo generator for the Bluff port is the aluminium smelter at Tiwai Point, which continues to operate at less than full capacity, but has signalled the potential to list production later this year. The port is continuing to evaluate opportunities from recently awarded oil and gas exploration permits in the Great South Basin.

The shares were unchanged at $3.50 and have gained 2.9 percent in the past year, while the market as a whole has climbed 20 percent, based on the All Ordinaries Index.

A fully imputed interim dividend of 6 cents per share, down from 6.5 cents a year earlier, will be paid to shareholders on March 11, it said.

(BusinessDesk)

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