Bumper interim profit for Powerco

23:45, Nov 27 2012

Powerco, New Zealand's second-largest gas and electricity network utility, has reported an after tax profit of $40.2 million for the six months to September 30.

The profit is more than double its previous half year surplus of $15.6m. However, the company has changed its financial year to end on March 30, rather than June 30, which skews the recent results, because it includes the entire winter period, when demand for energy is much higher.

New Plymouth headquartered Powerco, is privately owned by QIC of Brisbane and Brookfield Infrastructure Partners of Bermuda, although it has bonds which trade on the NZX debt market.

It operates networks in Taranaki, Wanganui, Rangitikei, Manawatu, Wairarapa and Wellington, connecting 320,000 electricity customers and 100,000 gas customers.

Only Vector, which operates the utility networks in Auckland and the Maui gas pipeline, has more customers, although at 30,000 kilometres, Powerco's electricity network is New Zealand's longest.

Revenue for the period of $214.6m was up from $196.1m in the six months to December 31, which chairman Rick Bettle said reflected a variance of seasonality and an increase in pass through costs, such as higher transmission charges from national grid operator Transpower and higher local body rates.

Powerco's earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and financial derivatives (EBITDAF) for the six months to September 30 was $123.7m, up from $110m in the six months to December 31, 2011.

"Powerco has been very active in the regulatory area and continues to work constructively with the Commerce Commission to implement the new framework for regulated electricity and gas businesses,'' Bettle said.

''The aim of which is to ensure an adequate balance between the needs of consumers and the needs of infrastructure providers so that we can continue to provide reliable services as well as develop our networks which underpin future growth in New Zealand's economy.''