Meridian reports $89.3m profit, $293.9m for government

State-owned Meridian Energy will pay the government a total of $293.9 million for 2009, after a volatile year that began with drought and ended in deluge.

Meridian will pay a final $113.9 million dividend, on top of an interim $30 million dividend on October 2008 and a special dividend of $150 million.

The company's net profit after tax was down from $128.6 million in 2008 to $89.3 million this year.

Chief executive Tim Lusk said the overall net profit of $89.3 million for the year to June 2009 was "satisfactory."

"We began the year with our storage lakes at record lows and ended in almost the opposite situation, with the company managing a series of large inflows," he said.

"This financial result was achieved in the face of extreme operational volatility. It is largely due to the close attention we paid to managing the company's net contracted position. While we can never eliminate the impact of the weather or external conditions, we have worked hard to mitigate their impact."

Mr Lusk said the $150 million special dividend was possible after a better than expected underlying profit. He said this was driven by improved Net Energy revenues and lower interest costs, along with a review of the company's capital structure and financial ratios.

Operating revenue was down from $2.6 billion to $1.89 billion in 2009. Ebitadaf was up from $373.9 million in 2008 to $512.4 this year.

Mr Lusk said Meridian had frozen residential prices to the end of the financial year.

Mr Lusk pointed to increasing shopping around by customers and said this year, the company was committed to "getting it right" for customers and understanding what they wanted.

He said Meridian was pleased with its retail subsidiary, Powershop, launched early in 2009. "Powershop has brought a new and innovative retail channel to the electricity market, which offers unprecedented choice for electricity consumers."

He said the company had rolled out 112,000 smart meters in Canterbury and progressed its West Wind, 62-turbine wind farm near Wellington.

It also had hydro and wind projects planned for "new generation capacity" when the time was right, he said.

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With this dividend added to Mighty Rivers $230 million to the Government one wonders if the poor NZ consumer is being somewhat ripped off. No doubt all the senior execs in these companies achived their bonus targets, all gained from customers they have never met and if they didn't go to work for 6 months it would all still grind on. How did we ever get to this...Max Bradford where are you??

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