The authority held its Annual General Meeting in Nuku’alofa yesterday and declared the dividend to the government, which is the sole shareholder.
Prime Minister and Minister for Public Enterprises, Rev. Dr. Pohiva Tui’onetoa said, “it is satisfying for the Shareholder to be able to receive the dividend payment today (Monday) which was not always the case for some of the other Public Enterprises as the dividend payment should reflect the effectiveness of the plans and projections set forth by the Public Enterprises in order to achieve set goals and be able to give back to the Shareholder at the end of the financial year.”
A statement said the dividend paid is equivalent to 75% of PAT Net Profit After Tax of $2,055,260 for the financial year ended 30 June 2020.
In this regard, PAT maintained the same percentage of dividend paid last year, which was 75% of the Authority’s NPAT.
The meeting heard that PAT’s performance for FY 2019/20 was significantly affected by Covid-19, the cargo throughput dropped by 12%.
The number of ships called went down by 14%, which contributed to the 10% reduction in total income from $13.4 million to $12.1 million.
Expenditure on the other hand increased by 4% which was mainly attributed to an increase in Depreciation cost as a result of the new CAPEX investment during the year and Finance cost.
As a result, the Authority’s NPAT decreased by 38% from $3.3 million of the previous year to $2.1 million.
For the first time in the last five years, return on equity was below the 10% required rate of return set by the Ministry of Public Enterprises.
Despite the challenges of Covid-19, PAT still maintained a strong financial position at year-end with a Net Cash flow from Operating Activities of more than $4.3 million and Gearing ratio of 20% meaning PAT is still having room for more debt to fund its infrastructure development.
The period was notable for the level of CAPEX investment completed during the year despite the adverse effects of COVID-19 over its cash flow position.
The total CAPEX for the year was $4.6 million which is the second highest CAPEX over the last five years.
This includes the acquisition of a new working barge from Australia.
The project was $1.5 million and was funded from PAT’s cash flow and secured bank loan.
The dry dock of the MV Tugboat Hifofua in Fiji was also funded from PAT’s cash flow at a total of $1.2 million.
In addition, PAT completed the upgrade of the slipway with a total cost of $626,539 to be able to slip and repair the boats and vessels in Tonga.
These amongst other capital projects such as the tar sealing of the new domestic wharf car park, fencing replacement for the Queen Salote International Wharf, cargo shed upgrade and the acquisition of the online e-procurement software was completed during the 2019/20 financial year.