26 May 2020

Napier Port delivers strong first half but outlook is uncertain

12:16 pm on 26 May 2020

Napier Port has reported a strong first half profit on increased revenue, but will not be paying a dividend.

Container ship in commercial port of Napier, New Zealand.

Napier Port is have a "year of two halves", its chief executive says. Photo: 123rf

The Hawke's Bay port company's net profit for the six months ended in March rose 40 percent to $12.8 million, with a 7.5 percent increase in revenue to $52.3m.

The port's chief executive, Todd Dawson, said: "Napier Port is having a year of two halves".

The company had delivered on expectations set out when the company listed on the NZX last year, he said.

"But in the second half of the year we, along with the rest of the country, are facing a period of extended uncertainty and an external shock that has significant implications for trading in the current financial year and beyond."

Given the uncertainty the board decided against paying an interim dividend to shareholders.

There was a 7.5 percent rise in container volumes in the first half, but bulk volumes dropped 7.3 percent with fewer log exports to China in the second quarter.

Cruise ship services drove revenue up 22.5 percent before coming to an abrupt end in mid-March, with the departure of the ill-fated Ruby Princess, which was linked to a significant number of Covid-19 deaths and illnesses in New Zealand and Australia.

There were 76 cruise ship visits during the first half, an increase of 10 on the year earlier, but short of the 87 booked to arrive.

Port chairperson Alasdair MacLeod said: "The future trade outlook and the timing of the revival of the cruise industry remains uncertain and is now dependent upon Covid-19 public health developments and the economic impact in New Zealand and key international trading markets, both in the short and longer-term".

He added that the company would provide an update to the market in August.

"We expect at that time to update the market on full year earnings guidance, if not available earlier."

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