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Unison declares a $15.8 million dividend for 2018/19

Electricity distributor Unison Networks has delivered a strong performance for its customers declaring a $15.8 million final dividend for its shareholders, the Hawke’s Bay Power Consumers’ Trust. The Trust holds all the shares in Unison on behalf of consumers connected to its electricity network in Hawke's Bay.

Unison released its annual report today, which showed the Group earned $91.2 million before interest, tax, depreciation and the impact of fair value movement of its derivative financial instruments (EBITDAF). 

The impact of derivatives of $2.4 million along with higher network maintenance costs and higher costs in Unison’s subsidiary ETEL impacted the Group’s overall result, however net profit after tax of $32.0 million was welcomed by the Unison Group.
Unison Group Chair, Philip Hocquard, said the Board were pleased with Unison’s results and the Company had continued to make good progress towards longer-term goals.

“Achievements this year reflect Unison is leveraging the benefits of prioritising customer needs, investing in a smart network and growing partnerships with others,” said Mr Hocquard. 

Customer-driven work was strong with growth diversified across the residential, commercial and industrial sectors and network regions. More than 1,186 new customers were connected to the network and Unison facilitated the connection of 347 solar installations, including 145 with battery storage.  

Unison’s network performed well meeting challenging regulatory limits set by the Commerce Commission despite three major event days. On average customers experienced 1.86 outages over the 12-month period and were without power for an average of 103.80 minutes during the year.

“This reinforces the positive impact Unison’s investment in a smart network is having on delivering a safe, reliable supply to customers,” Mr Hocquard said. 

Unison Group Chief Executive, Ken Sutherland, said Unison continues to take a leading role in the electricity distribution industry.  

“This year we underwent and passed a surveillance audit to re-assess our conformance to ISO 55001. Unison became the first company in New Zealand to be certified to this standard last year, which is regarded as the benchmark for asset management. 

“Maintaining our strength in electricity distribution assets is critical for the flexibility and performance that future energy flows will require and for meeting changing customer expectations,” Mr Sutherland said.

Mr Sutherland said Unison signed two significant agreements during the year which are indicative of the business’s future focus on growth and expansion.  

The Field Services Agreement with Aurora Energy formalises the current working relationship to help deliver Aurora Energy’s programme of work on their Dunedin network. 

“The agreement demonstrates Unison’s ability to work with other network companies as well as the capabilities of our group to expand into other regions,” Mr Sutherland said.

The second significant signing for the Unison Group during the year was with ASX-listed TechnologyOne to adopt their enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, OneEnergy. 

“Implementing a system that integrates asset management and business operations into one platform optimises our core business and greatly improves overall efficiency across our Group,” said Mr Sutherland. 

Mr Sutherland said Unison’s performance indicates the Company is well on track to realise its vision of leading a sustainable energy future.

“Sustainability is about operating in a way that harmonises the economic, social and environmental. Being a successful business, maintaining and enhancing our social license and integrating EVs and other energy technologies to support customers’ changing energy demands,” said Mr Sutherland.

Mr Hocquard said the Board is confident in Unison’s strategic direction going into the new financial year. 

“As change in the energy sector gains momentum, Unison is striking the right balance between maintaining a traditional electricity distribution network while making the appropriate investments and planning to meet future requirements,” Mr Hocquard said. 

2018-19 Key Financial Highlights:
• Total Group Revenue - $248.6m
• Net Profit After Tax - $32.0m 
• Capital Expenditure - $54.9 
• Final Dividend - $15.8m

Please refer to Unison’s Annual Report for full details here.
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