Marsden Maritime lifts first-half profit on rising Northport cargo volumes

Revenue gained 20% to $6.8 million, largely through a bigger return from Marsden Maritime's share of Northport.

Marsden Maritime, which owns half of the Marsden Point-based Northport along with a marina, commercial facilities and land, lifted first-half profit 21% on increased cargo volumes going through the port.

Net profit rose to $5 million, or 12.17c per share, in the six months ended December, from $4.1 million, or 10.03c, a year earlier.

Revenue gained 20% to $6.8 million, largely through a bigger return from its share of Northport, where cargo throughput rose 12% to 1.85 million tonnes.

Log volumes were up 13% in a period when cheap shipping rates and resurgent Chinese demand supported forestry exports.

"The positive result was attributable to a combination of strong cargo growth at associate entity Northport and improved earnings from our other commercial operations," chief executive Graham Wallace says.

"Although cargo volumes at Northport for the remainder of the financial year are projected to be at a slightly lower level than that for the comparable period last year, we expect annualised throughput will still exceed that recorded in the 2016 financial year."

Marsden and Port of Tauranga each own 50% of Northport, and Marsden also owns 100% of Marsden Cove and Marina. The company itself is about 54% owned by Northland Regional Council and 19.9% by Ports of Auckland.

The company's property holdings nearly doubled its trading surplus to $540,000 on a 40% gain in revenue to $950,000, while its marina and commercial unit more than doubled earnings to $194,000 on a 31% gain in revenue to $926,000.

The board declared an interim dividend of 6.25c per share, payable on March 24. That's up from 5.5c a year earlier.

The shares gained 1.3% to $3.95, and have gained 41% over the past 12 months.