18 Aug 2014

Investments boost Contact profit

3:16 pm on 18 August 2014

Contact Energy says the payoff from its $2 billion investment programme helped it lift annual net profit nearly 17.6 percent. Its net profit for the year ended June rose to $234 million

The electricity generator and retailer says its underlying earnings rose 12.4 percent and that the completion of the Cook Strait cable upgrade and reduced take-or-pay commitments from the Maui gas field also contributed to its higher earnings.

Contact says commissioning the Te Mihi geothermal power station in May this year was a major milestone - the company received $43 million to compensate for the late start-up of the new station.

The power company says its 1 percent increase in retail sales reflects its commitment to service and its competitively priced products. It says it continues to hold market share in one of the most competitive retail electricity markets in the world.

Customers switching providers during the year rose 10 percent, driven by increasing numbers of smaller competitors as well as increasing innovation and targeted promotions from established competitors.

Contact says its cost of energy fell during the year because of increased hydro generation.

The company has increased its final dividend by 1 cent to 15 cents per share, taking the full-year payout to 26 cents. Contact says this represents 84 percent of underlying earnings.