28 Oct 2004
The Directors are pleased to announce an unaudited after tax surplus for the six months to 30 September 2004 of $40.1 million, compared with $36.9 million for the same period last year.
Earnings before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortisation ("EBITDA") were $92.0 million versus $79.1 million for the same period last year, an increase of 16 per cent.
The New Zealand electricity trading environment of the first half has featured lake storage levels and inflows that have been above average. Accordingly, spot electricity prices have been significantly lower compared with the prior year when spot prices were high due to lower hydro storage levels. (Load weighted average price paid for the half was $37 per MWh versus $99 per MWh in the first half 2003.)
TrustPower's own generation assets produced 1100 GWh during the first half (up four per cent on expected output) versus 892 GWh in the first half of 2003. Many of TrustPower's hydro generation storage catchments are at high levels leaving the Company well positioned to meet customer demand over the remainder of the 2005 financial year.
Customer numbers have remained flat at 225,000 compared with 224,000 at 31 March 2004.
The Company's balance sheet remains strong with relatively minor movement from the 2004 financial year end position. Debt to debt plus equity was 30.4 per cent as at 30 September 2004 compared with 43.4 per cent at the same time last year. The revaluation of generation assets, announced with the 2004 year end result, is the main driver of this reduction in gearing.
Taking the trading result into account the Directors have declared an interim dividend of 9.0 cents per share (8.5 cents per share last year). The dividend will be payable on 17 December 2004 to all Shareholders on the register at 3 December 2004. This dividend will be fully imputed and a supplementary dividend will be paid to non-resident holders.
TrustPower remains focused on hydro generation and wind farm development opportunities in New Zealand and wind farm development opportunities in South Australia. With respect to the latter, the company expects to make a decision by the end of 2004 on whether to proceed with these opportunities.
While it is too early to predict the results for the full year, TrustPower is performing well and at this stage the Directors anticipate that another good result should be achieved.
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