Lyttelton Port of Christchurch said it has made a strong start to the new financial year and is running ahead of a forecast for annual earnings of least $10 million in the first quarter.
The port reported a normalised profit of $9.8 million in the year to June 30 and said almost 60 percent of its net profit after tax was in the second half of that year.
Chairman Rodger Fisher told the annual meeting today that the port had made a very strong start to the year with both revenues and net profit after tax for the first quarter significantly ahead of the comparable period last year.
He said it was difficult to forecast a full-year result because of the magnitude 7.1 earthquake in Christchurch on September 4.
The impact of the earthquake and the level of the company's insurance claim was likely to be significant.
"We can, however, assure you that we have insurance cover, including material damage and loss of profit insurance, which will ensure that we do not suffer undue financial loss from this event," Mr Fisher said.
Due to accounting requirements in the recognition and timing of insurance proceeds and the related expenditure, the impact on the profit was extremely difficult to forecast, he said.
There might be significant positive and negative impacts on the year-end financial statements in accounting terms because of the earthquake.
"However, the key to this with regard to an underlying trading result, at this early stage of the year our forecast for the full financial year is a result of at least $10 million and we are ahead of the first quarter this year."
Mr Fisher noted that Lyttelton Port had been identified as a logical port to handle larger container ships in a report by the Shippers Council.
"I would comment that this is the first report to recommend Lyttelton Port as the logical major port in the South Island.
The port would take the report into consideration when reviewing its short and long term asset management and development plans as a result of the earthquake.
The meeting re-elected Mr Fisher as a director and elected Lindsay Crossen as a director and authorised a $25,000 increase in directors' fees.
Mr Fisher thanked Barney Sundstrum, who retired from the board at the meeting, for his nine years of service, which included being chairman during a period of uncertainty for the port.