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Infratil forecast unaffected by delayed return from Longroad

Infratil forecast unaffected by delayed return from Longroad asset sale

By Gavin Evans

Dec. 14 (BusinessDesk) - Infratil says the later-than-expected receipt of development margins on Longroad Energy’s Rio Bravo wind development hasn’t altered the firm’s full-year earnings guidance.

Last month, the infrastructure investor forecast underlying operating earnings would lie between $580-620 million in the year to March 31.

Today, the company said following the conditional sale of Rio Bravo, it expects to receive repayment of about US$49.4 million on the 238 MW Texas wind project – reflecting its US$46.3 million equity contribution for construction and accrued interest.

But it says it won’t realise its share of the project’s development margin, which is unknown as yet, until the 2020 financial year when construction is completed. It had previously expected to book that in the current year.

“Infratil remains within the FY19 earnings guidance update provided on 13 November,” it said in a statement on NZX.

Infratil shares slipped 0.6 percent to $3.60 at the NZX open and gained about 8.4 percent this year.

Wellington-based Infratil has controlling stakes in Trustpower, Wellington International Airport and Tilt Renewables. It acquired a 40 percent interest in Boston-based Longroad in 2016 as part of a strategy to profit from its renewables experience in the US, one of the fastest growing clean energy markets in the world.

Longroad owns and operates almost 700 MW of wind and solar projects in the US, and manages a further 552 MW of capacity on behalf of third parties.

This week it agreed to sell the Rio Bravo project in Starr County, Texas, to Sammons Renewable Energy. It didn’t disclose the price.

The project, which has a 15-year revenue agreement with Citigroup, comprises 66 Vestas 3.6 MW turbines. It is expected to be operating by June next year.

Infratil’s latest forecast compares with $525.8 million of underlying earnings – from continuing operations - before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and changes in financial instruments last year.

The firm reported underlying earnings of $338.8 million in the six months through September, up from $284.3 million a year earlier.

Longroad was the biggest driver of that improvement. It contributed $51.1 million in the period, largely from the sale of its 250 MW Phoebe solar project in Texas.


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