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Mighty River Power underlying earnings up 16 pct

NZPA

Tuesday 30th August 2011

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Mighty River Power lifted underlying earnings 16 percent to $162.2 million, as it increased electricity generation 17 percent and maintained residential electricity sales volumes.

The increased generation came from a combination better hydro generation conditions and the first full year's production from the jointly-owned Nga Awa Purua geothermal plant near Taupo.

The plant's output outweighed lower wholesale prices from generation and sales to spot market customers, state-owned Mighty River said today.

Chairwoman Joan Withers said national electricity consumption had been flat during the year, so the company had significantly increased its market share of generation. It had displaced other providers' more expensive thermal generation with hydro and geothermal renewables, she said.

A final dividend of $45.7m is to be paid, on top of a $64.7m interim dividend paid in March. That took the total for the year to $110.4m, up $24m from a year earlier.

Total sales to residential and commercial customers in the year to June -- excluding very large commercial and industrial customers -- were down 1.7 percent by volume from 4857 gigawatt hours (GWh) to 4776GWh.

A fall in commercial sales was partially offset by a 1.5 percent increase in residential sales, from 2612GWh to 2652GWh. Electricity customer numbers slipped to 392,000 from 412,000, after growing in the past two years.

However, there were higher residential sales volumes and the weighted average price (fixed price variable volume) for electricity sales to commercial and residential customers rose 7.7 percent from $102 per megawatt hour (MWh) to $110MWh.

Net profit was up 50 percent from $84.6m to $127.1m, while core operating costs rose 1.4 percent from $229.7m to $232.8m. Revenue from ordinary activities lifted 5.4 percent to $1.16 billion.



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