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Infratil FY earnings fall as forecast, affirms 2015 pickup

Infratil full-year earnings fall as forecast, affirms pickup for 2015

May 13 (BusinessDesk) – Infratil, the energy, airport and transport investor, posted a 5.3 percent drop in pretax earnings, meeting guidance, on a weaker contribution from Trustpower and Infratil Energy Australia Group. The company reiterated earnings will grow in 2015.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and fair value movements were $500 million in the year ended March 31, down from $528 million a year earlier. Net profit jumped to $199 million from $3 million, driven by a net gain of $183 million from the sale of Z Energy and valuation adjustments.

Infratil’s 50.4 percent holding in Trustpower is its biggest single investment and accounted for 55 percent of Ebitdaf in the full year at $277 million, down from $295 million a year earlier. The utility has already posted its annual results, which showed the impact of a drop in hydro generation in the face of dry weather and depressed wholesale energy prices.

The company described 2014 as “a dynamic year” including the successful float of Z Energy, the exit from its unprofitable Glasgow Prestwick and Kent airports and the acquisition of a 19.9 percent stake in retirement village operator Metlifecare.

The shares rose 1.8 percent to $2.33 and have gained 0.9 percent this year.

The company also agreed to invest A$100 million in the Australian Social Infrastructure Partnership, with the first A$12 million made post March 31.

The company’s 66 percent-owned Wellington International Airport provided the second-largest earnings contribution at $86 million, up from $83 million in 2013 on gains in aeronautical and passenger services income.

Earnings at Infratil Energy Australia Group (IEA) fell to A$61 million from A$80 million and the decline was inflated by the effect of translating earnings back into a strong kiwi dollar. Infratil said today it has started a review of the Lumo and Direct Connect Australia units of IEA that may take six months and will determine whether the businesses are kept as is or sold.

NZ Bus, which operates the bus services in Auckland and Wellington, posted a 9 percent drop in earnings to $40 million, coming in below budget, which Infratil said reflected disappointing passenger growth and engineering costs to comply with new regulations.

Earnings for 2015 would be “between 6 percent and 12 percent higher than this year’s $500 million,” the company said.

“Next year it is expected that New Zealand’s economy will continue to drive demand for transport and energy and that there will be increasing private provision of infrastructure on both sides of the Tasman,” the company said.

Infratil will pay a final dividend of 7 cents a share, up from 6 cents a year earlier and bringing annual payments to 10.75 cents.


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