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Jet Group Records Healthy Profit

The Shotover Jet Group has taken the first step towards better long-term results, announcing a net surplus before non-trading items of $2.177 million for the year ending June 30, 2001. This compares with $484,000 for the previous year.

The net surplus including non-trading items is $4.501 million. The $2.324 million of non-trading items include write-ups for Shotover River rights of $2.631 million, a profit from share trading and write-offs for research and development.

Chief Executive Officer, Adrian Januszkiewicz, said today the result was pleasing and showed the company was on the right track, moving towards healthier results after several disappointing years.

Group revenue increased by 13.5% as a result of strong growth in the New Zealand operations. Customer numbers were up by 12%.

In Fiji, increasing tourist numbers has enabled the business to re-open for seven day a week trading, up from two days earlier in the year. The current outlook for Fiji appears promising, with steady growth forecast, he said.

Shareholder equity increased by 33.9% from $13.121 million to $17.575 million.

Mr Januszkiewicz said the Group’s Annual Report was moving towards triple bottom line reporting for the first time.

“Triple bottom line reporting shows Shotover Jet’s commitments to long-term, sustainable development including delivery of strong financial performance, social equity and good environmental management,” he said.

“This year’s Annual Report will include details of our initiatives to protect and enhance the environment in which we operate. It also demonstrates our commitment to staff, customers and the communities in which we do business. As one of New Zealand’s leading tourism operators, we take our responsibilities very seriously and we intend to build on these initiatives each year.”

The key features of Shotover Jet’s environmental performance are:

- Dart River Safaris’ moves to become a certificated member of the Green Globe 21 international environmental brand during 2002.

- Dart River Safaris’ commitment to reduce jet boat noise.

- Dart River Safaris’ participation in the Conservation Department’s stoat and rat trapping programme at the head of Lake Wakatipu, resulting in increased native bird populations.

- Goldfields Jet’s commitment to preserve Central Otago’s gold rush history by restoring and preserving Chinese miners’ huts and recovery of artefacts from the river.

- Rainbow’s Kiwi Recovery Programme and Operation Nest Egg, working with the Conservation Department to breed and release kiwis back into their natural habitat.

The key features of Shotover Jet’s social involvement are:

- Customer and staff safety, which is a top priority. The Group takes a leading role in setting industry standards and is committed to continuous improvement.

- The highest driver training standards in the industry.

- Payment of more than $300,000 to the Queenstown Lakes District Council in concession fees, which is used to fund community projects.

- $380,000 in fees to the Conservation Department, which funds the preservation of the natural beauty of New Zealand.

- Weekends for locals at Shotover Jet Queenstown and Huka Jet with heavily discounted prices; the money is donated to local causes.

- Funds, staff expertise and time to The Order of St John for a new ambulance station in Frankton.

Mr Januszkiewicz said the outlook for tourism was positive. Shotover Jet will seek to maximise shareholder returns and to enhance the Group’s contribution in social and environmental areas.

“Our focus now is on consolidation of the businesses we operate. Our directors have recommended that no dividend is paid this time. Instead, we will take a conservative approach, reinvesting the surplus and strengthening our existing operations to make sure we produce better value for shareholders. Once that is achieved, we will look for further investment opportunities in key areas and give consideration to reinstating dividends,” he said.

“The focus is on earning the right to grow.”

Other significant changes in the Shotover Jet Group during the financial year were:

- The Queenstown Lakes District Council’s agreement, subject to some conditions, to renew the concession for Shotover Jet Queenstown to operate exclusively in the Shotover River canyons. The concession is for five years from 1 April 2004, with four rights of renewal for five years each.

- The ongoing development and testing of a new prototype jet boat for Shotover Jet Queenstown with emphasis on safety, performance and comfort. The new fleet is to be launched in October 2002.

- Two new boats for Dart River Safaris to give increased capacity and comfort.

- The sale of Armada Holdings’ Shotover Jet shares to Ngai Tahu Tourism which now holds 80.5%. Ngai Tahu Tourism has a long-term commitment to New Zealand tourism and to the Shotover Jet Group.

- The appointment of Adrian Januszkiewicz as Group Chief Executive, replacing James Boult who resigned after 15 years as Managing Director.

Ends


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