Partially listing Napier Port is among the options on the table for Hawke's Bay Regional Council as it considers how it's going to pay for a $125 million expansion of the transport hub's wharf.
The port operator this week declared a record profit of $16.7 million in the September 2017 year and announced it's seeking resource consent for a 350-metre wharf to be constructed on its existing seawall.
This would cater to bigger cruise ships and freight vessels.
However, the port can't fund that without dividend relief or a capital injection, and the regional council appointed a capital structure review panel to come up with some ideas on how to bridge the gap.
The panel came up with nine options in a report to council to support the port's growth, including listing it on the NZX with council retaining a majority stake.
Independent adviser Flagstaff Partners estimated a partial privatisation could fund $85 million of the port's capital requirements and offer upside for council to invest elsewhere.
"There is a question about whether the size of the market listing would be material enough to promote ongoing trading of shares, which may support the share price over time," the report said.
The prospect of a new listing would be a boon to NZX, which has been criticised for not attracting enough new companies to the bourse.
Lyttelton and Auckland ports have been listed in the past, although Tauranga is the only port currently on the exchange.