Pioneer buys a major expansion

Pioneer Generation will double its staff and turnover following its purchase of power supply company Energy for Industry for more than $50 million.

Pioneer Generation chief executive Fraser Jonker said the purchase of Energy for Industry was "a significant growth and diversification investment for Pioneer Generation".

The Alexandra-based company, owned by the Central Lakes Trust, bought 100 per cent of the shares of EFI, which was owned by Meridian Energy.

EFI's key area of expertise was providing clean energy solutions by harvesting energy from waste products and turning inefficient coal and gas fired boilers to multi-fuelled technologies which used wood chips.

It has energy centres in Dunedin, which supplies Dunedin Hospital and Cadbury, Silver Fern Farms at Finegand, Washdyke and Winstone Pulp International near Ohakune and in Christchurch supplying the Christchurch City Council. The company also harvests landfill gas at Silverstream in the Hutt Valley to generate electricity at Nelson, supplying heat to the local hospital and council facilities, and had other services including providing standby power to Auckland Hospital.

Pioneer's staff will grow from 23 to 53 and earnings growth is expected to increase 40 per cent.

Mr Jonker said EFI had a "market-leading position" in the process of heat and bio-fuel markets with strong opportunities for growth. The purchase would give Pioneer a presence in the national market and help the industry compete internationally by focusing on energy efficient solutions along with waste and carbon reductions.

CLT chairman Sir Eion Edgar said: "Pioneer Generation has been a cornerstone investment . . . the addition of the EFI business will support the growth and returns to the trust and the community."

Pioneer owns and runs 13 hydro generation stations and two windfarms in Otago and Southland.

The Southland Times