Marlborough Electric Power Trust holds annual 2017 meeting, urges consumers to come along

Marlborough Electric Power Trust chairman Ross Inder wants more Marlburians to attend trust meetings.
SCOTT HAMMOND/FAIRFAX NZ

Marlborough Electric Power Trust chairman Ross Inder wants more Marlburians to attend trust meetings.

Marlborough's power trust is holding its annual meeting - and is hoping for more interest from power customers this year. 

The Marlborough Electric Power Trust owns the region's power company Marlborough Lines, which purchased 80 per cent of the Yealands Wine Group in 2015 for $89 million. 

Every Marlborough Lines consumer has a share in the power trust, which distributes annual dividends. 

Power trust chairman Ross Inder said he had been attending the meetings for 15 or 16 years, and each year they struggled to make quorum. 

READ MORE: 
* Wine and power a good match as Yealands deal starts to pay off
* Mixed reaction from Yealands sale
Marlborough Lines buys 80pc stake in Yealands Wine Group

"We've struggled over the years I've been involved to try and ascertain how to raise people's interest in it," he said. 

"Now that the company is diversifying, it's more important that people take an interest because it's got the potential to be vital in the progress of Marlborough." 

John's Kitchen co-ordinator and Labour candidate for Kaikoura Janette Walker said she would be attending, but  was disappointed in the timing of this year's meeting, on Friday at 10am in the morning. 

Last year it was also held during the  day, she said. 

"They didn't even have a quorum. They held it in the St John's building, and they had to use St John staff to get bums on seats.

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"One would've thought if they had to muster up stragglers they would've thought 'well that didn't work for us'," Walker said. 

Inder said the power trust always had to drag people in from the "highways and byways" of neighbouring businesses, which was disappointing. 

Over the years the trust had tried to hold meetings at various different times, with little success in boosting numbers. 

"You can be totally cynical and say people aren't interested until the lights go out," Inder said. 

At the meeting the trust's annual report will be discussed, which provides a 15-month report on the Marlborough Lines' progress, from March 2015 to June 2016.  

Inder said the report was a 15-month one rather than a 12-month one this year since Marlborough Lines had changed its reporting dates, to fall in line with Yealands. 

Inder said the trust was comfortable with the progress Marlborough Lines was making, and was bound to support it in its objective of being a successful business. 

The trust was "rigidly bound" to the terms of the deed,  for instance in who the beneficiaries to the trust were, Inder said. 

Consumers could expect a dividend of about $150 this February. 

The trust did not get involved in the day-to-day running of the company, but every year it had to sign off a statement of corporate intent. 

At the time the purchase of Yealands created some controversy, partly because of the group's rumoured high levels of debt.

Peter Yealands said in 2015 the debt levels were normal for a company of that size. 

According to the annual report Marlborough Lines has assets totalling $549.9m, if its interests in Yealands and Nelson Electricity Ltd are included. 

The company has a 50 per cent interest in Nelson Electricity Ltd. 

*The annual general meeting of the Marlborough Electric Power Trust will be held on January 20 at 10am at the St John rooms in Blenheim. 

 

 

 

 - The Marlborough Express

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