PowerNet 'in good position' despite loss

LOUISE BERWICK
Last updated 05:00 17/07/2014

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PowerNet has posted a $472,000 loss after a major amalgamation of services last year, but its chief executive says the company is in good health.

PowerNet, which is 50 per cent owned by the Invercargill City Council holding company Electricity Invercargill, released its annual report this week.

The report shows huge growth in property, plant and equipment, steady cash flow and a 10 per cent growth in equity, but shows the new entity also faced a half-million-dollar loss.

In September 2013 the company merged PowerNet and Power Services and integrated with Peak Power Services, citing the reduction of duplication and more efficiencies.

However, chief executive Jason Franklin said the company's aim was to break even as a management company and he was extremely pleased with the company's position.

"We are not set up to make a profit, the intention is that we break even."

The new entity had a net turnover of $56,371,000 and manages five electricity networks in Southland and Otago.

Franklin said the company had made major investments throughout the region in its networks and infrastructure, ploughing more than $49 million into the critical projects.

"I am extremely pleased, we have built five new substations and they are the first new substations in years."

The company was focusing on its infrastructure and that would continue during this financial year, he said.

"We have a heck of a lot on our plates at the moment."

That included building a substation for Electricity Invercargill in Spey St, he said.

City council finance and corporate services director and Holdco chief executive Dean Johnston said that although Holdco had no direct involvement with PowerNet because it was a subsidiary of Electricity Invercargill, he was pleased with the results.

"They seem to be going OK, I don't think it's a bad result."

Electricity Invercargill chairman Neil Boniface was unavailable for comment.

Electricity Invercargill director Darren Ludlow said that considering the weather conditions of the past financial year and heavily regulated market, he was pleased with the results.

There was not too much room for growth in the industry because of the regulations but the company was performing well, he said.

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- The Southland Times

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