Mighty River lifts government dividend

22:53, Aug 27 2012

Mighty River Power, the state-owned electricity generator which could soon be floated, has hiked its dividend to the government despite a fall in net profits.

The company, first in the line of a string of state owned enterprises set to have up to 49 per cent of shares sold to the public, said net profits after tax fell $59 million to $68m in the year to June 30.

The drop reflected a fall in interest rates which Mighty River has to record as a charge on its balance sheet. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and other charges (Ebitdaf) climbed 4 per cent to $461m.

Chairman Joan Withers said the company had declared a final dividend of $45m, giving a total dividend of $120m, up 9 per cent on a year ago.

The government has previously indicated that it wanted to complete a partial sale of Mighty River by the end of September.

The process is in doubt as a result of uncertainties over the ownership of the water used in its hydro stations, following a complaint to the Waitangi Tribunal by some Maori.

Mighty River said in its financial results that it had absorbed $3.8m in additional costs as a result of preparing for a government sell down.

Depreciation and amortisation increased by $13m as Mighty River wrote down the value of its assets, following increases in the book value of its assets in previous years.