Mighty River on track for profit forecast

JAMES WEIR
Last updated 09:10 26/02/2014

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Mighty River Power's half-year net profit after tax has jumped $48 million to $124m, because of lower operating costs and various one-off impacts.

However, its underlying earnings were down $28m to $105m for the six months to December 31 mainly because of higher interest and depreciation costs following the completion of the Ngatamariki geothermal power station.

MRP declared an interim dividend of 5.2 cents a share, and reaffirmed it was on track to achieve its full-year 2014 IPO forecast operating profit of $498m.

"We have delivered operating earnings growth for the half year, and we are on track for the full year - even with a quarter less hydro than the previous half year," chairwoman Joan Withers said

Chief executive, Doug Heffernan, said the company achieved the forecast 4 per cent ($9.5m) lift in operating earnings to $270m, which was challenging in light of the drought that affected the central North Island over much of the past 12 months.

Hydro volumes were down 34 per cent in the first quarter of the 2014 year, which over the full period equated to the loss of more than $33m in potential operating income. Inflows to Lake Taupo were the lowest since the company was formed in 1999.

This was partially offset by the timely extra geothermal power (up 25 per cent) with the completion of the new Ngatamariki power station at the end of August, together with higher-than-expected cost savings.

Heffernan said the higher proportion of power coming from geothermal generation, combined with a measured reduction in commercial sales commitments, gave the company greater flexibility when to use available hydro generation.

"This meant we were able to achieve better prices for our production than the average in the market - and it was 97 per cent geothermal and hydro renewables."

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- Fairfax Media

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