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Unison delivers strong performance for 2021/22, declaring $15.8 million dividend

Electricity distributor Unison Networks is realising the benefits of forward planning and preparation for a new energy future, 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, showing a strong performance for 2021/2022 despite an environment of significant change. The Group’s overall financial performance for the year showed a net profit after tax at $32.1 million. This was achieved despite pandemic related impacts, including supply chain disruptions and lost productivity.

Regulated line revenue was $138 million and capital contributions remained solid at $10.9 million driven by continued strong growth in residential and commercial developments.   

Capital expenditure at $62.4 million reflects the significant investment being made in the replacement and expansion of Unison’s electricity network assets, driven by its long term asset management plans which include investment needed to support the continued strong growth being experienced in both the residential and commercial sectors. 

Unison Group Chair, Philip Hocquard, said the Board were pleased with Unison’s results and that the Company had continued to press forward, striving to achieve its vision of leading a sustainable energy future that supports consumers’ changing energy needs, while enabling its communities to prosper for generations to come.

“Many people in our communities are facing significant, day to day pressure as the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, cost of living and global events continue to affect us locally.

“While it is essential that Unison continues to invest in assets at the right time, the Company has a clear eye on how this might impact consumers and is placing priority on striking the right balance between affordability, investment, performance and environmental impact.  

He said that the Company maintained focus on embedding sustainability as a foundation of the business.

“For the benefit of our community, as well as our collective future, this is what inspires and compels Unison to innovate and deliver smart energy solutions through a dynamic, flexible, and sustainable electricity system.” 

“The Board thanks the Hawke’s Bay Power Consumers’ Trust for the valuable role the Trustees play in helping to ensure Unison’s ongoing success and sustainability.” 

Unison Group Chief Executive, Ken Sutherland, said that although the changing energy landscape places significant demands on the electricity sector, Unison was well equipped to deliver into the future.

“Developing a sustainability strategy that supports the delivery of Unison’s vision held significant focus this financial year.

“We have a role to play in helping New Zealand’s transition to a zero-carbon future in areas such as transport, industrial heat and housing, whilst also improving affordability and employment.

“The Company is now realising the benefits of forward planning and preparation for this transformation. The interplay between Unison Networks and its subsidiaries demonstrates the power of the Unison Group to design, construct and service networks of the future, with sustainability at the core.” 

Unison’s revised strategy for growth, investment and innovation focuses on investing in existing unregulated businesses and new adjacent businesses that align with Unison's vision and purpose - including the sustainable energy sector. 

New investments for the 2021/22 year included the launch of small power transformers at ETEL and the acquisition of ABB Motor Generator Services.  The ABB business was successfully integrated into ETEL, as ETEL Services, and delivered above budget earnings in its first financial year.  During the 2021/2022 financial year, preparations were made for Unison Group to acquire PBA Limited. This acquisition settled on April 1, 2022.

Both companies add further value to the Unison Group. ETEL Services specialise in assessing, maintaining, repairing and refurbishing distribution transformers, motor and generator rewind and overhauls. PBA Limited provides expert services and products for high voltage engineering, from project solutions and support to specialist services.

Unison continued to support regional growth and thriving economies in each of its three regions by connecting 1,065 new customers. This growth was driven largely by retirement villages and residential subdivision connections as well as horticulture and associated industries. Significant levels of new demand among Unison’s commercial and industrial customer bases demonstrates the promising economic prospects across the Company’s regions.  

Mr Sutherland said Unison has a substantial programme of work planned for the 2022/2023 year and looks forward to the growth, challenge and innovation ahead.

“Unison thanks the community for its continued support.”

2021/2022 Key Financial Highlights

  • Group net profit (after tax): $32.1m
  • Regulated line revenue: $138.0m
  • Capital expenditure: $62.4m
  • Final dividend: $15.8m 
Please refer to Unison’s Annual Report for full details www.unison.co.nz/annual-report
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