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Trustpower raises earnings guidance again

Trustpower raises earnings guidance again, boosting Infratil outlook

By Paul McBeth

Oct. 13 (BusinessDesk) - Trustpower raised annual earnings guidance for a third time this financial year with strong wholesale electricity prices on both sides of the Tasman and increased generation in New Zealand, boosting the outlook for controlling shareholder Infratil.

The Tauranga-based company forecasts earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and fair value adjustments to be between $255 million and $270 million in the year ending March 31, 2018, up from a previous forecast of $225 million-to-$245 million. Trustpower's New Zealand generation climbed 16 percent to 729 gigawatt hours in the September quarter from a year earlier, largely due to its North Island hydro-plants, while the average spot price generated more than doubled to $98 per megawatt hours.

"The increased forecast has been driven by the favourable trading conditions in the year as well as a recalibration of the expected Australian generation determined as part of the current strategic review," chief financial officer Kevin Palmer said. "Trustpower now expects its Australian ebitdaf to be in line with FY17."

The electricity generator-retailer has already upgraded earnings guidance twice this year, citing favourable trading conditions and hired Forsyth Barr to look at spinning out its Australian hydro generation assets.

Listed infrastructure investor Infratil holds a controlling stake in Trustpower and today's increased earnings guidance feeds into the shareholder's own accounts. Infratil now sees ebitdaf of between $485 million and $525 million in the year ending March 31, 2018, up from a previous forecast of $460 million-to-$500 million.

Trustpower shares last traded at $5.67 and have gained 20 percent so far this year, while Infratil was at $3.11, up 13 percent this year.


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