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FIRST CUT: Meridian lifts earnings on late hydro recovery

By Gavin Evans

Aug. 22 (BusinessDesk) - Meridian Energy, New Zealand’s biggest power generator, today reported a slight lift in full-year earnings despite weak hydro conditions for much of the period.

Net profit rose marginally to $201 million for the year ended June 30, from a restated $200 million a year earlier. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and changes in financial instruments rose to $666 million, up 1.4 percent from $657 million a year earlier. Prior year earnings were restated for a change in accounting policy.

Chief executive Neal Barclay said the result reflected a recovery in the firm’s hydro storage in the final quarter of the year and good management throughout the firm’s toughest year for generation since 2013.

Meridian previously reported a 6 percent decline in total generation for the period to 12,528 GWh.

The company plans to pay a final dividend of 8.94 cents on October 17, up from 8.7 cents a year earlier. It will also pay a final capital management special dividend of 2.44 cents, unchanged from a year earlier. That is part of a five-year programme started in 2015 to return $625 million to investors.

Barclay said the firm plans a similar programme starting in August 2020 to return $250 million to shareholders over the following two years.

(BusinessDesk)

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