21 Aug 2008

Ports of Auckland wants Tauranga's container business

6:57 am on 21 August 2008

In a surprise move, Ports of Auckland has revealed it wants to buy the container business of its rival Port of Tauranga.

Merger talks between Ports of Auckland and Tauranga were called off last year, but the two operators are adamant the industry needs structural change.

Ports of Auckland managing director Yens Madsen says the two ports need to position themselves for increased competition.

Yens Madsen says the port has indicated its intention to Tauranga, and has had no formal response.

Port of Tauranga says its business would be worth substantially more than the Auckland's container business.

However, chief executive Mark Cairns says Port of Tauranga will consider any proposal it receives from Ports of Auckland.

Ports of Auckland made the announcement at the same as it announced a profit of $21.1 million for the year to the end of June - down from the previous year's $64.6 million which was boosted by the sale of Wynyard Wharf.

Port of Tauranga made a $38 million profit last year and is due to issue its annual results for this financial year next week.