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Electricity Consumers Benefitting From Growth

Auckland Electricity Consumers Benefitting From Growth

AUCKLAND, 21 Aug 2003 - Income beneficiaries of the Auckland Energy Consumer Trust (AECT) are set to gain from the continued growth of the Trust's main asset, network infrastructure company VECTOR Limited.

VECTOR today announced a net surplus after tax of $49.7 million for the 15 months to the end of June, with operating earnings of $309.2 million, ahead of forecast.

AECT chair Karen Sherry says the Trust is pleased with the result, which underlines the value of VECTOR's growth strategies that have been supported by the Trust.

The past 15 months have been momentous for the Trust, with the size of its investment in VECTOR nearly doubling to more than $2.8 billion following the takeover of UnitedNetworks assets.

When the UnitedNetworks transaction was announced last year, VECTOR issued a series of capital bonds that included an entitlement to an allocation of ordinary shares in the event of any public offering of shares by VECTOR. The share offering was included as an option by the company, as part of prudent fund-raising alternatives. The company has today made it clear that the strength of its latest balance sheet means a share issue is not needed.

Ms Sherry said this outcome, which will see the AECT continue to own 100 percent of VECTOR, is a testament to the strength of the company.

"The AECT's main objective is to maintain or enhance the value of its assets, and that objective has been abundantly achieved without the need to raise further equity," Ms Sherry noted.

"While we were able to give VECTOR the option of funding some of its growth through issuing fresh equity, it is pleasing to see that the strength and growth of the company is such that it has been able to fund through alternative measures," she said.

"As VECTOR's shareholder we are appreciative of the effort the company's staff and management have put into achieving these results and ensuring a tremendous return for our beneficiaries," Ms Sherry said.

The Auckland Energy Consumer Trust distributes the dividends it receives from VECTOR to its income beneficiaries. The Trust decides the method as well as the amount that will be paid to these consumers, and as usual will distribute the funds by way of a credit on power accounts. The exact level and timeframe for payment of the credit will be announced at a later date.

Income beneficiaries of the Auckland Energy Consumer Trust are those customers of VECTOR who are connected to its network in areas comprising Auckland City, Manukau City and parts of Papakura City.

For full details regarding eligibility, please visit www.aect.co.nz

There are more than 250,000 income beneficiaries of the Trust and these people will soon have the opportunity to elect trustees to represent them on the AECT.

Nominations for the AECT's triennial elections opened on Wednesday July 30 and will remain open for one month until 5pm Friday August 29. Voting documents will then be posted out on Wednesday October 15 and eligible consumers will have until 5pm on Friday October 31 to vote on who will represent the Trust for the next three years.

Details of the election are also available via the AECT's website.


ENDS

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