Eastland Group in the black

HANGING AROUND: Specialist linesmen contracted ona job for Eastland Network. Picture by Canaan Akuhata-Brown

COMMUNITY trust-owned company Eastland Group last year collected a record $76.2 million in income, along with a $14.8m profit, allowing the company to give back nearly $10m to the community that owns it.

Eastland Group owns Eastland Port, lines company Eastland Network and electricity generator Eastland Generation. It also operates Gisborne Airport and is the largest shareholder in energy retailer Flick Electric.

“At Eastland Group, we’re charged with delivering commercial success for the community’s benefit, and the last financial year delivered again on both counts,” said chief executive Matt Todd after the release of the company’s annual report this week.

The report showed the group made a profit of $14.8m, slightly down on the previous year’s record $15.2m.

The company returned $9.9m to owners Eastland Community Trust, a significant increase on last year’s $7.7m.

“It was a year of expansion, with another strong business performance resulting in a $14.8 million profit. This enabled us to return a record $9.9 million (including subvention payments) to our sole shareholder, Eastland Community Trust, which is for the future benefit of everyone in the region.

“Eastland Port continued to break records, exporting 2.5 million tonnes of products, up nearly 8.5 percent on last year. On average, the teams are loading 11,600 tonnes of wood each day.

“Gisborne Airport is also experiencing growth, with total passenger movements up 10 percent on the year before.”

Overall, the group’s annual report showed income rose $2.3m to $76.2m for the year.

“Eastland Network had another steady year in terms of income. It’s important to note that, as the economic regulator of electricity lines companies in New Zealand, the Commerce Commission sets and regulates the levels of allowable revenue.

Electricity went down

“As people will remember, December 2016 saw most of the region losing electricity after a topdressing plane crashed into the high voltage lines near Hangaroa. This was an incredibly challenging time for everyone, and I’d like to thank the lines crews again for their efforts, and the community for rallying behind the affected families and being so patient while the lines were repaired.”

Revenue increased increased from the electricity distribution side of the business, up $1.7m to $34.5m, while logistics revenue accounted for $30m of revenue, up from $27.6m.

Energy sales fell from $5.9m to $4.3m. That was the result of a reduction in output due to hydrology and other factors, as well as significantly lower spot prices.

The port sector profits (before interest and income tax) remained steady at $13.6m, not far off last year's $13.8m, while the network sector increased its profits (before interest and income tax) by $1.4m to $13.1m.

The generation sector had $1.1m wiped off its profits, which fell to $0.8m (before interest and income tax).

“In the generation space, the Te Ahi O Maui geothermal project is progressing well,” Mr Todd said.

“The business case for Te Ahi O Maui had the plant being commissioned by August 2018 and we’re currently forecasting to be ahead of time as well as under budget. This is part of our commitment to clean, green renewable energy in New Zealand. Once completed, Te Ahi O Maui will generate around 25MW of electricity, which is enough to power 25,000 homes, and provide long term financial returns to ECT and the Tairawhiti community.

“Our solar research trial is part of our planning for the future power needs of the Gisborne, East Coast and Wairoa regions. Solar panels have been installed at nine sites, with several more to come, in a trial designed to last two to five years.

“Worldwide, advances in conversion and storage are disrupting the energy industry. We’re learning more about how the adoption of solar energy and battery storage will impact on the network, so that we can develop opportunities that see our region leading and benefitting from this emerging technology. The recently announced Electric Village will play a key role, with the community sharing their ideas about the future of energy in Tairawhiti.”

The reports showed the company’s wage bill rose to $9.8m from $8.7 in 2016, with the company employing 34 staff on salaries of $100,000 or more, eight more people than the previous year.

In total Eastland Group employed 101.6 FTEs over the past financial year.

COMMUNITY trust-owned company Eastland Group last year collected a record $76.2 million in income, along with a $14.8m profit, allowing the company to give back nearly $10m to the community that owns it.

Eastland Group owns Eastland Port, lines company Eastland Network and electricity generator Eastland Generation. It also operates Gisborne Airport and is the largest shareholder in energy retailer Flick Electric.

“At Eastland Group, we’re charged with delivering commercial success for the community’s benefit, and the last financial year delivered again on both counts,” said chief executive Matt Todd after the release of the company’s annual report this week.

The report showed the group made a profit of $14.8m, slightly down on the previous year’s record $15.2m.

The company returned $9.9m to owners Eastland Community Trust, a significant increase on last year’s $7.7m.

“It was a year of expansion, with another strong business performance resulting in a $14.8 million profit. This enabled us to return a record $9.9 million (including subvention payments) to our sole shareholder, Eastland Community Trust, which is for the future benefit of everyone in the region.

“Eastland Port continued to break records, exporting 2.5 million tonnes of products, up nearly 8.5 percent on last year. On average, the teams are loading 11,600 tonnes of wood each day.

“Gisborne Airport is also experiencing growth, with total passenger movements up 10 percent on the year before.”

Overall, the group’s annual report showed income rose $2.3m to $76.2m for the year.

“Eastland Network had another steady year in terms of income. It’s important to note that, as the economic regulator of electricity lines companies in New Zealand, the Commerce Commission sets and regulates the levels of allowable revenue.

Electricity went down

“As people will remember, December 2016 saw most of the region losing electricity after a topdressing plane crashed into the high voltage lines near Hangaroa. This was an incredibly challenging time for everyone, and I’d like to thank the lines crews again for their efforts, and the community for rallying behind the affected families and being so patient while the lines were repaired.”

Revenue increased increased from the electricity distribution side of the business, up $1.7m to $34.5m, while logistics revenue accounted for $30m of revenue, up from $27.6m.

Energy sales fell from $5.9m to $4.3m. That was the result of a reduction in output due to hydrology and other factors, as well as significantly lower spot prices.

The port sector profits (before interest and income tax) remained steady at $13.6m, not far off last year's $13.8m, while the network sector increased its profits (before interest and income tax) by $1.4m to $13.1m.

The generation sector had $1.1m wiped off its profits, which fell to $0.8m (before interest and income tax).

“In the generation space, the Te Ahi O Maui geothermal project is progressing well,” Mr Todd said.

“The business case for Te Ahi O Maui had the plant being commissioned by August 2018 and we’re currently forecasting to be ahead of time as well as under budget. This is part of our commitment to clean, green renewable energy in New Zealand. Once completed, Te Ahi O Maui will generate around 25MW of electricity, which is enough to power 25,000 homes, and provide long term financial returns to ECT and the Tairawhiti community.

“Our solar research trial is part of our planning for the future power needs of the Gisborne, East Coast and Wairoa regions. Solar panels have been installed at nine sites, with several more to come, in a trial designed to last two to five years.

“Worldwide, advances in conversion and storage are disrupting the energy industry. We’re learning more about how the adoption of solar energy and battery storage will impact on the network, so that we can develop opportunities that see our region leading and benefitting from this emerging technology. The recently announced Electric Village will play a key role, with the community sharing their ideas about the future of energy in Tairawhiti.”

The reports showed the company’s wage bill rose to $9.8m from $8.7 in 2016, with the company employing 34 staff on salaries of $100,000 or more, eight more people than the previous year.

In total Eastland Group employed 101.6 FTEs over the past financial year.

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