Huntly power station
on New Zealand’s
North Island
 
Wellington, New Zealand — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 22 February 2011 – New Zealand’s largest listed power company, Contact Energy Limited, reported a 3.9% fall in its first half net profit, resulting from the country’ unfavourable weather conditions and increased costs.

The energy retailer made a net profit of NZ$83.7 million (US$63.3 million) in the six months to 31 December, compared with NZ$88.1 million (US$66.8 million) last year.

The company, whose 10 power stations generate about 30% of New Zealand’s electricity and which has around 600 000 electricity and gas customers, declared an unchanged interim dividend of 11 cents per share.

At its annual meeting last October, Contact said it expected first profit this year to be broadly in line with the second half of 2010, before improving in the second half as its gas storage and peak-demand generation plant came online.

Earnings before interest, tax, deprecation, amortisation and financial instruments (EBITDAF) was up 0.2 % at NZ$225.5 million.

Shares in Contact “’ whose competitors include state-owned Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power and Genesis Power, as well as listed electricity company Trust Power Limited , closed yesterday at NZ$6.19.

So far this year the company, which is the third largest listed by market capitalisation, is fractionally lower than a 2.1% gain for the benchmark top 50 index. Contact is 51% owned by Australia’s Origin Energy.