Retiring Unison Group Chairman, Kevin Atkinson said today the electricity distributor is in great shape and well-equipped to face the challenges of the future.
“Unison has produced another solid financial result for the 2016/17 year off the back of an increase in customer requested work and new connections; stronger revenue from all Group companies; favourable derivative movements; and a continued focus on managing costs,” Mr Atkinson said.
Unison Networks achieved a Net Profit after Tax of $40.7 million, compared to $24.6 million the previous year, of which favourable derivative movements accounted for a $17.3 million uplift in profit before tax.
The Unison Board declared an increased dividend of $12.7 million for the year ended 31 March 2017, which will be paid to the Hawke’s Bay Power Consumers’ Trust on 2 August.
Unison continued to invest in its smart network, positioning the company for the future with capital expenditure for the year of $51.9 million, following on from last year’s $55.2 million spend.
Expenditure was also driven by customer-requested works, the purchase by ETEL Limited of Lucky Light Gobalindo in Indonesia and the impact of the significant August snow storm.
The snow storm and other uncontrollable factors - such as the Kaikoura earthquake, strong winds throughout the year and an increase in damage to the network from the likes of cars hitting poles – also contributed to a decline in network reliability for the year.
Mr Atkinson who retired as Unison Group Chairman at today’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) said Unison has the strategy, technology and depth of talent to continue delivering the reliability customers have come to expect from Unison long-term.
“It’s been a privilege and honour to serve Unison’s network communities for nearly two decades on the Unison Board.
“Unison is going into the new financial year in the best financial position it has been. A future that allows the Company to make the best long-term investment decisions for its customers and shareholders, the power consumers of Hawke’s Bay. Its smart network provides a strong base from which the business can evolve its network to it deliver electricity reliably, safely and cost-effectively to customers.”
John Newland, Hawke’s Bay Power Consumers’ Trust Chairman said the Trustees were pleased with the result.
“The Trustees are very pleased to report another solid financial result. While network performance was down, we appreciate the vagaries of the weather and believe Unison’s response to the August snow storm was exceptional in very difficult conditions.”
Group Chief Executive, Ken Sutherland thanked Mr Atkinson for his dedication and stewardship as Chairman for the past eight years and for serving on the Board for nearly two decades.
“Kevin’s drive and passion for the Unison Group and its people has resulted in solid and sustained growth during his term as Chair. His financial directorship and strong commercial acumen has ensured the business consistently delivered on key targets. His contribution to the direction of Unison will be missed but means we are well placed for the future.”
Both Mr Atkinson and Mr Sutherland extended thanks to John Newland and Trustee Arch Buntain, who have served the maximum consecutive term of nine years and are not eligible for re-election.
The AGM welcomed the appointment by the Board of new Director, Christine Spring. Ms Spring is an experienced director and civil engineer. She is currently on the Board of Auckland International Airport and Holmes Consulting Group Limited.
2016-17 Key Financial Highlights:
- Total Group Revenue - $224.5m
- Net Profit After Tax - $40.7m
- Capital Expenditure - $51.9m
- Equity/Total Assets - 51.8