3 Jun 2014

Big contracts slow in Christchurch

7:38 am on 3 June 2014

Big commercial contracts in Christchurch have been slower than expected in coming to the market, Horizon Energy chairman Rob Tait says.

The lines company's subsidiary, Aquaheat, is a building service and is chasing large commercial and industrial contracts in Canterbury as the post-earthquake rebuild activity picks up.

Aquaheat took a $3 million hit in the year ended March last year after the collapse of contractor Mainzeal.

It bounced back in the year ended March this year, contributing $37.8 million dollars towards Horizon's revenue, taking the parent company's net profit to $7.2 million.

However, uncertainty over the expected workload in Canterbury can create logistical problems.

Mr Tait said tenders had been put to market at a slower rate than previously thought but he was finally starting to see some movement.

"I understand some of them have come to market and others are coming to market, and tenders are out and under consideration but I haven't got all the details," he said.

"For us, it's a balance of having on board the necessary resources to meet those contracts if we win them, versus not carrying an excessive cost while we're waiting for them to get under way."

They company balanced that by having people in Wellington and Auckland, as well as a good team in Christchurch, Mr Tait said.

"There are people in the marketplace who we know we can attract once we know we have sufficient workload on board," he said.

Figures provided by Statistics New Zealand show that just 14 non-residential building consents were issued in April, down from 22 consents issued in March.

An aerial view of Christchurch's CBD showing demolished sites.

An aerial view of Christchurch's CBD showing demolished sites. Photo: PHOTO NZ