9 Dec 2015

Contact positive about future returns

5:06 pm on 9 December 2015

Contact Energy is confident it will move through a flat earnings period and deliver improved returns to shareholders.

That was the message to the company's shareholders at the annual meeting in Wellington today.

Earlier this week, the company's shareprice was knocked lower after it said it did not expect its operating earnings to be much changed from last year at around $525 million.

In its November monthly operational report, the company said it had to use more expensive gas to meet power demands, because of low hydro levels and its geothermal plant being off line.

It had lower commercial sales and earnings from retail customers had been squeezed because of strong competition.

At the meeting today chief executive Dennis Barnes said he was disappointed about the time it had taken to get operating costs down. But he was hopeful things would improve.

"I believe Contact is on the right path of reducing costs in its business and becoming more customer-centric," he said.