Tasports: financial storm is brewing

Nanjing Night Net

TASMANIAN ports deliver a much worse return on assets than a range of Australian and international ports, a recent financial analysis shows.

A review of port balance sheet capacity by Deloitte, done for Infrastructure Australia in June, found the return on assets for Tasmanian ports was 0.1 per cent, the worst result of the 15 ports, including eight Australian ports, considered in the report.

Return on assets is the ratio between net income and total assets, and is a measure of profitability.

Compared with Tasmania’s tiny profitability figure, Melbourne’s return on assets was 1.7 per cent, Port Kembla 3.8 per cent, Townsville 2.6 per cent, Singapore and Auckland both 6.3 per cent and Toronto 7.5 per cent.

The review did not paint a rosy picture for the future, saying Tasports last year “produced a minimal profit (excluding re-valuation of assets)” and there were “limited resources available in the next year to fund expansion activities”.

The review said Tasports had the second most conservative capital structure of the eight Australian ports analysed, meaning its debt was low compared with total assets of $234 million.

In 2010-11, Tasports had operating revenue of $75 million, interest income of $600,000 and other revenue of $800,000.

The same year Tasports reported an operating profit after tax of $297,269 and a net loss after income tax of $23.7 million, largely due to a write-down of asset values.

Tasports operates ports at King and Flinders islands, Stanley, Smithton, Burnie, Devonport, Bell Bay, Strahan, Hobart and Triabunna.

The Port of Burnie.

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