Multiple factors batter Meridian profit by 52%

BUSINESSDESK: Low rainfall, the sale of some of its assets to Genesis Energy and a one-off dispute settlement in the previous year saw Meridian Energy's net profit fall 52% to $106.1 million in the year ended June 30.

The result, which excludes unbooked movements in the fair value of financial instruments, largely reflects the lowest rainfall in Meridian's South Island hydro catchments in 79 years of record-keeping, and the loss of output from the Tekapo A and B hydro stations.

The Tekapo units were sold towards the end of the previous financial year to fellow state-owned rival generator Genesis Energy as part of electricity reforms.

The impact of low hydro inflows is best illustrated by the fact that the result was achieved on a 25% increase in total revenue to $2.57 billion, despite the reduced asset base.

Hydro generation was down 22% to 9.79 Gigawatt hours for the year, while wind generation rose 17% to 1.38GWh.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and changes in the fair value of financial instruments were down 28% to 476.6 million, from $659.9 million, largely because the average price of electricity generated rose by 138% to $98.79 per MWh in the year just passed from $41.57 per MWh the previous year.

EBITDAF per MWh generated was down 11% to $42.62.

Adjusting for the Tekapo generation revenue and the $28.1 million settlement of a dispute with New Zealand Aluminium Smelters, NPAT was down 28% on the previous year, the company said in a statement released to the NZX ahead of a media briefing.

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