16 Nov 2010

Infratil lifts half-year profit

2:09 pm on 16 November 2010

Infratil has lifted its half-year profit, helped by the strong performance of its Australian energy business and newly acquired Shell fuel operations.

The listed utilities investor made just over $16 million in the six months to September, a turnaround from a $31 million loss in the same period last year, when it was hit by one-off asset writedowns and revaluations.

Pre-tax earnings rose a quarter to $258 million, with Trustpower contributing 60% of that, its Australian energy business 25%, Wellington Airport 15% and the remainder coming from NZ Bus and its European airports.

Infratil bought Shell's assets, including 200 petrol stations and a 17% stake in the New Zealand Refining Company, in a joint venture with the New Zealand Superannuation Fund for about $700 million in March this year.

The since-renamed Greenstone Energy contributed about $13 million to operating earnings.

Infratil chief executive Marco Bogoievski says it is a satisfying performance for the group and he is confident about future growth.

Mr Bogoievski says the company expects full-year earnings to be between $415 million and $435 million - slightly better than a previous forecast.

Infratil declared an unchanged dividend of two-and-a-half cents a share.

Shares in Infratil have risen 3c to a two-year high of $1.93 on Tuesday afternoon.