Strong year for Eastland Group

AFTER earning a record $76.2 million in income this year, Gisborne-based Eastland Group has been able to distribute nearly $10m to the community trust that owns it.

Eastland Group, which owns lines company Eastland Network, Eastland Port, electricity generator Eastland Generation and operates Gisborne Airport, has recorded another strong business performance.

For the year to March 2017, income increased to a record $76.2 million, with an audited profit of $14.8 million — slightly down from last year’s record profit margin of $15.2.

Chief executive Matt Todd said the fall in profit was down to unbudgeted costs.

“This was mainly due to some un-budgeted costs associated with the aircraft crash into the 110kV transmission lines, the Waihi Dam remedial work and settlement, and the Wharf Shed fire — not all of which were fully covered by insurance or are yet to be fully settled.”

Eastland Group also returned a record-breaking $9.9 million to its sole shareholder, Eastland Community Trust. This was made up of a fully-imputed dividend distribution of $7.8 million ($5.6 million in 2016), and interest paid on shareholder capital notes of $2.1 million. The total paid was $2.2 million up on last year.

“Our commitments include delivering fit-for-purpose infrastructure that enables our customers to operate their businesses successfully, and making strategic long-term investments that generate significant returns to our shareholder.

“This year, our staff are particularly proud that we’ve been able to deliver nearly $10 million to ECT. It brings the total we’ve paid to ECT since 2003 to more than $90 million, and every single dollar will benefit the community that owns us.”

Increased assets

The group increased its assets base by $58.2m to $481 million.

“Three-quarters of these assets are in the Gisborne and Wairoa districts”, Mr Todd said.

Eastland Port continued its record-breaking exports with 2.5 million tonnes of product leaving the port, 8.49 percent more than last year’s new high.

About $86m was spent over the year to upgrade port facilities.

“Eastland Port is New Zealand’s third-largest and most efficient log export port, with an average of 11,600 tonnes of wood loaded each day. Beyond 2018, volume will continue to grow and around 5 million tonnes of export product is expected per year.

We are ensuring the port is ready by investing $96 million over the next five years.”

Gisborne Airport recorded 156,146 passenger movements, 10 percent more than last year.

Mr Todd said plans for a new terminal complex capable of accommodating even more people and larger aircraft, were well under way.

‘We are working on plans for a new terminal and these will be announced shortly.”

Geothermal project

Mr Todd said another major highlight for the year had been the “excellent” progress made on the construction of the Te Ahi O Maui geothermal project near Kawerau.

“The business case for Te Ahi O Maui had the plant being commissioned by August 2018 and we are currently forecasting to be ahead of time as well as under budget.

“The initial steam field drilling programme was completed and the civil enabling works and plant foundation work are now finished.

Work on construction of the power plant is well advanced. Transmission line and steam pipeline construction is under way.”

The $120 million geothermal power plant will generate around 25mw of electricity, which is enough to power 25,000 homes.

“Crucially, it will also provide long- term financial returns to ECT and the Tairawhiti community.”

Other developments in the energy space included the establishment of Eastland Group’s solar trials, announcement of the region’s first fast-charging electric vehicle (EV) station, and an increased shareholding (18.6 percent) in innovative electricity business Flick Electric Co.

“The year’s electricity use remained steady, with 302 GWh distributed across Eastland Network.

“The line charge revenue for the year sat at $34.5 million, while ongoing maintenance and capital expenditure was managed within budget in accordance with Eastland Network’s asset management plan.”

Mr Todd said the group remained dedicated to investing in the region.

“Over the next five years we’re planning to invest an additional $166 million in local infrastructure, which will further contribute to regional economic growth,” Mr Todd said.

“We will also invest about $46 million on predominantly energy assets outside the region, predominately for the Te Ahi O Maui geothermal project.”

AFTER earning a record $76.2 million in income this year, Gisborne-based Eastland Group has been able to distribute nearly $10m to the community trust that owns it.

Eastland Group, which owns lines company Eastland Network, Eastland Port, electricity generator Eastland Generation and operates Gisborne Airport, has recorded another strong business performance.

For the year to March 2017, income increased to a record $76.2 million, with an audited profit of $14.8 million — slightly down from last year’s record profit margin of $15.2.

Chief executive Matt Todd said the fall in profit was down to unbudgeted costs.

“This was mainly due to some un-budgeted costs associated with the aircraft crash into the 110kV transmission lines, the Waihi Dam remedial work and settlement, and the Wharf Shed fire — not all of which were fully covered by insurance or are yet to be fully settled.”

Eastland Group also returned a record-breaking $9.9 million to its sole shareholder, Eastland Community Trust. This was made up of a fully-imputed dividend distribution of $7.8 million ($5.6 million in 2016), and interest paid on shareholder capital notes of $2.1 million. The total paid was $2.2 million up on last year.

“Our commitments include delivering fit-for-purpose infrastructure that enables our customers to operate their businesses successfully, and making strategic long-term investments that generate significant returns to our shareholder.

“This year, our staff are particularly proud that we’ve been able to deliver nearly $10 million to ECT. It brings the total we’ve paid to ECT since 2003 to more than $90 million, and every single dollar will benefit the community that owns us.”

Increased assets

The group increased its assets base by $58.2m to $481 million.

“Three-quarters of these assets are in the Gisborne and Wairoa districts”, Mr Todd said.

Eastland Port continued its record-breaking exports with 2.5 million tonnes of product leaving the port, 8.49 percent more than last year’s new high.

About $86m was spent over the year to upgrade port facilities.

“Eastland Port is New Zealand’s third-largest and most efficient log export port, with an average of 11,600 tonnes of wood loaded each day. Beyond 2018, volume will continue to grow and around 5 million tonnes of export product is expected per year.

We are ensuring the port is ready by investing $96 million over the next five years.”

Gisborne Airport recorded 156,146 passenger movements, 10 percent more than last year.

Mr Todd said plans for a new terminal complex capable of accommodating even more people and larger aircraft, were well under way.

‘We are working on plans for a new terminal and these will be announced shortly.”

Geothermal project

Mr Todd said another major highlight for the year had been the “excellent” progress made on the construction of the Te Ahi O Maui geothermal project near Kawerau.

“The business case for Te Ahi O Maui had the plant being commissioned by August 2018 and we are currently forecasting to be ahead of time as well as under budget.

“The initial steam field drilling programme was completed and the civil enabling works and plant foundation work are now finished.

Work on construction of the power plant is well advanced. Transmission line and steam pipeline construction is under way.”

The $120 million geothermal power plant will generate around 25mw of electricity, which is enough to power 25,000 homes.

“Crucially, it will also provide long- term financial returns to ECT and the Tairawhiti community.”

Other developments in the energy space included the establishment of Eastland Group’s solar trials, announcement of the region’s first fast-charging electric vehicle (EV) station, and an increased shareholding (18.6 percent) in innovative electricity business Flick Electric Co.

“The year’s electricity use remained steady, with 302 GWh distributed across Eastland Network.

“The line charge revenue for the year sat at $34.5 million, while ongoing maintenance and capital expenditure was managed within budget in accordance with Eastland Network’s asset management plan.”

Mr Todd said the group remained dedicated to investing in the region.

“Over the next five years we’re planning to invest an additional $166 million in local infrastructure, which will further contribute to regional economic growth,” Mr Todd said.

“We will also invest about $46 million on predominantly energy assets outside the region, predominately for the Te Ahi O Maui geothermal project.”

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Winston Moreton - 3 days ago
Good to see our power bills, along with other Eastland Group businesses, making ever increasing profits for a select few. Almost $10m last year. Hopefully it will be better next year with the current cold snap increasing power consumption in homes and small businesses. Such a pity that our trustees keep reinvesting - $120m in Kawerau and an unspecified $166m! Why cannot our Eastland Community Trustees, who include Mayor Meng Foon, not realise how much benefit would flow in reducing local hardship if the price of our power came down? Or even if they paid some of those millions to us, the trust beneficiaries, instead of exporting it out of the district?