Infratil directors get 3.7pc pay rise

Listed infrastructure investor Infratil got two thumbs up from the Shareholders Association and its directors got a pay rise at its annual meeting in Christchurch yesterday.

Association representative Max Smith congratulated Infratil's board on "a job well done" and endorsed the company's resolution to raise directors' fees.

Infratil investors approved an increase in fees paid to Infratil's five-member board, as well as directors on its subsidiary companies, by $207,599 to a maximum of nearly $3.2 million.

The directors would collectively receive a $25,000 pay rise, or 3.7 per cent, to a total of $705,000.

Infratil increased its full-year dividend by almost 20 per cent to 8 cents in the year till March, which Smith said was a good result for shareholders.

It showed the directors were doing well and the organisation was happy for them to get a pay increase, he said.

Chief executive Marko Bogoievski said the company had a buoyant outlook, which was not shared by many other NZX 50 companies.

Infratil's businesses were all operating at or above expectations and had momentum driven by sizeable reinvestment, he said.

New investments were always being looked at, with the company's focus being on energy and transport infrastructure. "We're seeing more opportunities today than at any time in the past five years," Bogoievski said.

The opportunities were all too large for Infratil to take on by itself, so would be looking to invest with partners.

The company was still learning about what opportunities Christchurch's recovery would create.

Buying into Christchurch International Airport would interest the company if it was in the right circumstances, Bogoievski said.

The airport is majority-owned by Christchurch City Council and quarter-owned by the Crown. The Government has said the council should sell down its stake to help finance the city's rebuild.

New Zealand was a small country and Infratil was always keeping an eye on the assets in its fields of expertise, he said.

The company made $127 million in the year till March, up 6 per cent on the previous year, despite writing down two failed British airport investments. The $30m was shaved from the airports during the year, leaving a value of $70m.

Bogoievski said the company welcomed the mixed-ownership model for the state-owned power companies.

It would put all Kiwi energy companies on the same page when it came to investing in long-term power generation projects.

Private companies would go for the lowest-cost project with the highest return, he said, while with state-owned enterprises that was not always the case.

The power sector would be better off if "private-sector disciplines" were practised across all the participants.

Chairman David Newman said the company would not buy shares in the state-owned power companies.

Yesterday, Infratil shares closed slightly up at $2.09. A year ago they were worth $1.70.

The Dominion Post