First Transpower dividend in seven years

The state-owned national grid monopoly pays its first dividend to the Crown since 2005. Underlying earnings fall.

National electricity grid operator Transpower has announced the company’s first dividend since its previous handout in 2005, although a report of underlying earnings saw a drop.

Transpower has released these details along with its half-year results today, reporting earnings before net changes in the fair value of financial instruments and debt of $77.1 million for the six months of the financial year of 2011/2012, a 4% decrease from the previous corresponding timeframe of $80.4 million.

A $110 million dividend will be paid to the company’s shareholders this coming March, a first for the company since its last dividend payout over 7 years ago.

“This is our first dividend payment since the 2004/2005 financial year,” said Transpower chairman Mark Verbiest.

“During that time, the operating surplus has been reinvested into our significant capital programme.”

Capital expenditure for the company was $424 million, a hefty $190 million more than the previous year.

Mr Verbiest said that reinvestment was required, following a long period of low investment.

“We are seeking to extract greater and more cost effective capacity from our existing grid, and where possible, minimise the need to build new lines,” added Mr Verbiest.

“However, there is still a need to upgrade and maintain existing assets, replace outdated equipment, and put in place new technology platforms to operate the power system.”

Transpower’s full half-year results will be posted after they are tabled in parliament in March.