18 Feb 2019

Monday's business news: What you need to know

4:53 pm on 18 February 2019

The country's biggest port operator has posted a record half year profit, as it handled a record number of containers.

One of the Maersk 9500 ship line which are set to start visiting Port of Tauranga from the end of September.

The Port of Tauranga posted a net profit to the end of December of $49 million. Photo: Supplied

The Port of Tauranga's net profit for the six months ended December rose to $49 million from the previous year's $47.1m.

The company handled 621,000 containers during the period as it benefited from being the only New Zealand port able to handle super-large container ships, while it cemented its position as a hub for cargoes being sent to and from smaller regional ports.

The company's revenue rose 8.5 percent as it handled 13.6 million tonnes of cargo, up 8.8 percent on the year before.

Bulk cargo volumes also rose - driven by rising log and kiwifruit exports.

For more on Port of Tauranga's half year net profit click here.

New Zealand diplomat in China playing down exporters' concerns

The Shanghai-based trade commissioner Damon Paling said its business as usual for most New Zealand companies sending product to China.

That's despite the seafood exporter Sanford telling RNZ business that its salmon shipments are being held up at Chinese ports for no reason.

Mr Paling said other companies are monitoring the situation.

Fletcher Building given the green light to acquire Waikato Aggregates

The Commerce Commission has given Fletcher Building approval to acquire Waikato Aggregates

The only condition is Fletchers cannot buy the land at Tamahere quarry.

The Commission said it's satisfied there'll be no lessening of competition in the region.

Burger Fuel's future uncertain

The future of listed fast food chain Burger Fuel is under scrutiny.

It's scrapped plans for global expansion after it lost the backing of its United States partner, Franchise Brands.

Burger Fuel says it's too expensive and risky to go it alone, so it will look at domestic expansion ... and says it has the financial strength to do so.

Consultancy firm KPMG will also look at future options for the company including a possible sale, merger, or joint venture.

Retirement village companies on debt row - analyst

Retirement village companies are being asked to give more detail on how well they are placed to cope with high debt levels in the event of a marked slowdown in the property market.

A report by broking house, First NZ Capital (FNZC), said the sector's dependence on banks has increased as companies expanded rapidly - buying more land and building more villages.

It said NZX-listed operators Ryman Healthcare and Summerset have been refusing to show for two years that they have adequately stress-tested their balance sheets in case of a property market downturn or demand for units.

In a statement, Ryman said it approached debt conservatively and had weathered many housing market storms.

Despite market risks, it was pushing ahead with 16 village developments in the pipeline.

Summerset did not respond to requests for comment.

However the chief executive of the second biggest listed operator, Glen Sowry of Metlifecare, said it stress-tested its finances and its ability to pay down debt if the market soured.

For more on this story click here.