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Port of Tauranga first-quarter earnings rise 16%, sees FY earnings meeting estimates

Port of Tauranga first-quarter earnings rise 16%, sees FY earnings meeting estimates

Port of Tauranga, the nation's biggest export port, said first-quarter earnings rose 16 percent, putting it on track to meet analyst estimates for the full-year of $64 million to $67 million.

That would be an annual profit increase of as much as 16 percent. Total trade in the first quarter was up 13 percent and container volumes rose 11 percent, chief executive Mark Cairns told shareholders at their annual meeting today.

The port is well placed to be the loading point for North Island's dairy and log exports, and of bulk goods that can be delivered by rail. It is adding container handling gantry cranes and preparing more land for storage.

"We expect continued growth in many cargoes, including forestry exports and dairy industry-related imports," Cairns said. "As with all commodities, forestry exports are subject to fluctuations in exchange rates, global economics and seasonal demand."

In the first three months of the year, log exports have risen 23 percent. Forestry companies are warning of a softer second quarter, Cairns said. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, though, says log demand will continue through 2012, driven by sales to China and even India, he told shareholders.

The stock rose 1.6 percent to $9.75 and has jumped 29 percent this year.


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