Harker says Tilt wants to keep faith with retail shareholders
By Jenny Ruth
May 29 (BusinessDesk) - Tilt Renewables decided to write to shareholders outlining the reasons why it isn’t paying a final dividend to pay “full respect” to its broad investor base, particularly its retail shareholders, says chair Bruce Harker.
Many of those smaller retail shareholders gained their shares first in Trustpower in 1995 when shares were distributed to Trustpower’s local Tauranga customers and then when Tilt was spun out of Trustpower in October 2016.
Tilt’s annual report has yet to be issued but Trustpower’s shows that at April 30 this year, it still had 11,678 shareholders owning fewer than 10,000 shares.
Infratil owns 65.3 percent of Tilt and Mercury New Zealand owns another 20 percent following last’s year’s takeover offer.
“There’s quite a large number of those shareholders who gained their shares in the 1995 share give-away still on the Tilt and Trustpower registers,” Harker says.
“We owe it to them to communicate with them as clearly as we can, even though they may not be following every notice of what the company’s up to,” he says.
Harkers says the letter wasn't in response to any shareholder complaints.
As the company has previously said, the board decided it was in the best interests of all shareholders not to pay a final dividend and to retain the cash within the business for anticipated project equity requirements
Tilt has a pipeline of wind and solar development projects across Australia and New Zealand. It commissioned the 54 megawatt Salt Creek wind farm in Victoria last year and in late 2020 raised A$260 million from shareholders for the 336 MW Dundonnell project it is aiming to commission in Victoria.
It is also near to committing to build a 133MW Waverley windfarm.
“Tilt Renewables also looks, to the extent possible, to fund these equity requirements with cash flows generated by the strong portfolio of operating assets and hence minimise the need to raise equity directly from shareholders,” Harker says in the letter.
He also outlined Tilt’s dividend policy, saying that the paying of dividends isn’t guaranteed and is at the board’s discretion.
That’s even though the company has actually paid regular dividends since its creation.
Tilt shares last traded at $2.35 and have risen 13 percent in the last 12 months.