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Eastland Group – Six Month Financial Result

November 22, 2012

For immediate release

STRONG OPERATING CASH FLOWS TO FUND SIGNIFICANT REGIONAL INVESTMENT

Eastland Group – Six Month Financial Result

Gisborne based Eastland Group Limited is pleased to announce its unaudited financial result for the first half of the current financial year to September 30, 2012.

Revenue for the six months was 19.7% higher at $45 million, compared to $37.6 million for the same period the previous year.

Earnings after taxation for the half year were $7.4 million compared to $4.2 million for the same period the previous year.

The assets of the group have remained relatively stable over the six months with total assets now standing at $353 million. Bank debt has also remained stable at $98.5 million.

A half year gross dividend of $3.3 million was paid to our shareholder the Eastland Community Trust, with another dividend of the same amount forecast to be paid prior to the end of the financial year.

That equates to a full year gross dividend of $6.6 million, up from $6.3 million the previous year. In addition to this $1.3 million in interest was paid on the shareholder capital notes for the six months.

The big contributors were the network, port and generation businesses which collectively represent more than 90% of the company’s total investments. This is consistent with the company’s strategy of focusing primarily on the energy and logistics industries.

In addition, the strategy of diversifying investment outside of the region – as a way of growing and managing geographic risk – has resulted in generation assets that are performing well and currently producing strong returns.

The infrastructure at the port is under significant pressure from the increased forestry volumes, which has led to the company accelerating its port development plan.

Since the acquisition of the port in 2003, the company has spent $51.5 million on capital enhancements to the port – over and above the purchase price and normal operational maintenance expenditure – and is planning to invest a further $55 million over the next five years to accommodate the customer projections for forestry harvest.

Therefore, while the port is profitable the business will have a negative cash flow over the next few years as it continues to fund the necessary investments. The port is a vital piece of infrastructure both for the region and a forestry industry that now employs over 1,000 people.

Similarly, more than $38 million has been invested into the network since 2003, and a further $59 million in capital projects is forecast within the region over the next five years.

This level of investment is only possible because the businesses are profitable.
Investment in any existing or new generation projects is additional to the above numbers, and the company continues looking to develop new sustainable energy generation projects, in particular geothermal and hydro opportunities.

The electricity distribution business provided a solid regulated return, and the network performed well over the winter months, particularly given the number of significant weather events during this period.

The outlook through to financial year end March 31, 2013 remains positive. At an operating level the group is performing very well in an environment which both nationally and internationally is far from stable.


ENDS

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