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Contact Energy Annual General Meeting

Contact Energy shareholders will meet in Auckland on March 11 for the company’s Annual General Meeting after a year of outstanding performance by the company, Contact’s Chairman, Mr Phil Pryke, said today.

“Shareholders will this week begin receiving Notices of Meeting by mail, ” he said. “The results from the last year demonstrate clearly that our strategy to position Contact with a strong portfolio of assets that will perform particularly well in times of cold, dry weather is capable of generating strong returns for shareholders.

“The Contact board is committed to building on the strengths of this strategy, which has left Contact well-positioned for further growth,” Mr Pryke said.

Contact’s net surplus rose from $97 million in 2000 to $131 million in 2001, on revenue of $1,097 million, compared with revenue of $868 million in the previous financial year. Dividends per share rose from 17.36 cents to 19 cents in the same period.

As well as the usual business of the meeting, shareholders will be asked to vote on five resolutions, covering auditor’s remuneration, election of directors, and directors’ remuneration. There are also two shareholder resolutions that propose changes to provisions covering payments to directors on retirement, and to the existing set of rules governing transactions with related parties.

“The board will be seeking shareholder approval to bring Contact Energy’s directors’ fees into line with those paid to the directors of other listed public companies of similar size and complexity,” said Mr Pryke.

The resolution to be placed before shareholders proposes that the aggregate fee pool for the company’s directors be increased from $223,000 to $270,000. An independent report from PriceWaterhouseCoopers has confirmed that the proposed level of fees is reasonable when compared to the market.

“Directors’ fees were last set in 1998 by the Government, before Contact was floated as a private company,” said Mr Pryke. “Since then, the size and scope of the company’s activities have broadened greatly, adding to the considerable responsibilities of the Contact directors.”

Among those changes, Contact has gone from having no retail functions to serving 500,000 electricity and gas customers, and has become the country’s largest wholesaler of gas.

“The strategies set by the Contact board have produced strong results for shareholders. The strengths of the strategy have been particularly evident in the last year,” said Mr Pryke.

Mr Pryke urged shareholders to read both the shareholder and board commentaries on the other two resolutions, on retirement payments and related party transactions.

“These are important matters for shareholders to decide, and detailed discussion of these issues is contained in the Notice of Meeting that will be in shareholders’ hands in the next few days.”

-end-

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