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Eastland Group reports another record profit in 2014

Eastland Group reports another record profit in 2014

Eastland Group Limited today announced a record audited profit of $14.9 million for the year ended 31 March 2014.

“We’re very pleased to report another strong result,” said Eastland Group chief executive Matt Todd.

“The 2014 result is a solid increase on 2013’s $12.8 million, which was a previous best. It shows while we are continuing to grow we’re maintaining profitability within our existing businesses. The group’s portfolio is comprised of three business sectors: an electricity distribution business, an electricity generation business, and a logistics business which includes an international seaport and a domestic airport. These businesses combined to give Eastland Group a total income of $71.0 million in 2014.”

Fully imputed dividends paid to Eastland Group’s sole shareholder, Eastland Community Trust, were $4.8 million, up from $4.6 million the previous year, continuing a trend of increasing dividends over the past seven years. Eastland Group also paid the shareholder interest on capital notes of $2.6 million.

The record result was due to strong operating profit (earnings before interest and tax) from each of these three sectors – electricity distribution $8.3 million, electricity generation $4.8 million and logistics (port and airport) $15.4 million.

Increased activity at Eastland Port was a key driver for the year on year improvement, added Mr Todd. A record breaking 2.3 million tonnes was exported through the port in the year ended 31 March 2014.

Eastland Network, which provides electricity distribution services to the 54,000 population base across the Gisborne and Wairoa districts, was also a key contributor. Total energy distributed was 300 GWhrs, down 2.1 percent on the previous year’s total of 306 GWhrs, reflecting a warm winter and consumers being more energy efficient.

“In a highly regulated and ‘no growth’ market, the network business continued to focus on the efficient operation of an electricity lines business covering an area of more than 10,000km2.”

Efficiency was also the focus for the company’s electricity generation business, said Mr Todd.

“Our geothermal plant in Kawerau achieved an availability of 97.9 percent and was part of a generation portfolio that produced 77.1GWhrs for the year.”

Mr Todd said the company invested $22.4 million during the year on development of its assets, up from $14.9 million the previous year. “The fact that $18.2 million of this was spent within Tairawhiti demonstrates our strong commitment to the local economy, even as we continue to pursue opportunities outside the region.”

The growing requirements of the forestry industry meant $11.5 million was spent on Eastland Port, and the district’s need for a reliable electricity supply meant that a further $5.4 million was spent on Eastland Network.

“Over the next five years we intend to spend a further $260.6 million on investments to support our strategic objectives. Eastland Group is committed to the efficient operation and development of the Tairawhiti region’s asset infrastructure. Our strategy is to enhance our asset base in order to create greater economic value in future, and to look for tangible ways to enhance our customers’ businesses.”

At 31 March 2014, the company’s total assets were valued at $365.5 million, with 87 percent of this currently invested in the Gisborne and Wairoa districts. Equity was $186.4 million, up from $181.0 million in 2013.

Eastland Community Trust chair, Richard Brooking, said Eastland Group’s performance was integral to the financial success of the Trust.

“The Group has paid an increased dividend of $4.8 million to ECT this year, up from $4.6 million the previous year, as well as $2.6 million interest on the capital notes held by ECT. This will eventually benefit the entire community in the form of investments and distributions by the Trust,” said Mr Brooking.

“We congratulate chairman Nelson Cull, the directors, chief executive Matt Todd and the entire Eastland Group team for the excellent results achieved in the 2014 financial year.”

ENDS

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