TrustPower Limited Unaudited Financial Results

Press Release – TrustPower

TrustPower’s consolidated underlying surplus after tax excluding fair value movements on financial instruments, which are inherently volatile, was $72.5 million for the six months ended 30 September 2009. This represents an increase of 6 per cent compared …
TrustPower Limited Unaudited Financial Results for the Six Months Ended
30 September 2009

TrustPower’s consolidated underlying surplus after tax excluding fair
value movements on financial instruments, which are inherently volatile,
was $72.5 million for the six months ended 30 September 2009. This
represents an increase of 6 per cent compared with $68.3 million for the
same period last year.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and fair value
movements on financial instruments (“EBITDAF”) grew by 13 per cent to
$154.9 million from $136.7 million in the previous year.
Profit after tax attributable to the shareholders of the Company was
$82.4 million for the half year compared with $66.8 million for the
prior period, an increase of 23%. This includes the impact of fair
value movements on financial instruments.

Operating revenue of $408.9 million was down 13 per cent on the previous
year due to significantly lower electricity prices charged to those
customers paying spot market prices. Spot electricity prices were
significantly lower during this period as the result of plentiful hydro
storage and inflows throughout the winter months of 2009.

Total electricity volume sold by the Company in New Zealand was 2,206
GWh compared with 2,253 GWh in the prior year. Customer numbers
increased to 229,000 as at 30 September 2009 from 227,000 as at 31 March
2009.

The Company’s total New Zealand generation production of 1,055 GWh for
the first six months was down 106 GWh on the previous year, mainly
driven by lower North Island hydro production which was down 111 GWh on
prior year. However, given low spot electricity prices for most of the
reporting period, TrustPower did at times have the choice between
procuring electricity in the spot market at low prices to meet customer
demand in preference to running its own hydro generation harder.
The Snowtown Wind Farm had a good second quarter and produced 186 GWh
over the first six months which was close to long term expectation.
Group operating cash flow was $110.1 million for the period versus
$100.1 million in the previous year.

Debt (including subordinated bonds) to debt plus equity was 34 per cent
at 30 September 2009 versus 36 per cent in the previous year.
TrustPower continues to maintain high levels of committed credit
facilities. Including subordinated bonds the Company currently has just
over NZD equivalent of 1 billion of committed debt funding in place. As
at 30 September 2009 Group net debt was $721.3 million.

TrustPower is currently considering making an offer of senior bonds to
New Zealand retail investors. If the offer proceeds, it is intended
that the bonds will be unsecured unsubordinated bonds which would rank
equally with TrustPower’s existing bank lenders. If the offer proceeds,
more information on the offer is expected to be provided over the next
few weeks.

Progress continues be made on a range of growth options in New Zealand
and Australia.

TrustPower currently has consents for 420MW of wind farm development in
the South Island and is well advanced with a further 118 MW of South
Island hydro consents at Arnold and Wairau.

In Australia, the TrustPower Group has planning consent for up to
another 235 MW of capacity at the Snowtown Wind Farm and has commenced
further studies in relation to a Stage II development.

The Wairau hydro consent appeal is scheduled to be heard in the
Environment Court next month and there are currently four appellants
remaining in the process.

A hearing in the Environment Court for the Arnold hydro consent is set
down for March 2010 where there is one appellant left in the process.
A business case is being prepared for a 30MW first stage at the
Mahinerangi Wind Farm which is located near TrustPower’s Waipori hydro
scheme. It is intended that existing transmission capacity will be able
to be utilised which will assist the economics of the project.
Progress continues to be made in reaching agreement with landowners for
potential wind farm developments at a number of sites in New South
Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia.

The design phase of the customer care and billing replacement project is
close to completion and the detailed plan for the implementation phase
is currently being worked through with Oracle.

The Government has announced proposed changes to the Emissions Trading
Scheme. If the proposal is adopted, carbon emitters will face a 50%
obligation on their emissions for the period 1 July 2010 to 1 January
2013 with a cap of $25 / tonne of CO2. TrustPower sees the introduction
of a mechanism to incorporate the pricing of carbon as key to securing
New Zealand’s renewable energy future and that the Company’s position as
a renewable generator will be strengthened as a result.

The submission process following the Ministerial Review of the
electricity sector has now closed and the Government is considering what
policy initiatives will be required. TrustPower’s submission was
broadly supportive and TrustPower welcomes confirmation of the
Government’s commitment to a competitive electricity market. Any
legislation changes are not expected to be enacted until mid 2010.

The process of recruiting a new Chief Executive is well advanced.
The Directors are pleased to announce an interim dividend of 19 cents
per share, partially imputed to 14 cents per share, payable 11 December
2009 (record date of 27 November 2009).

The first half result for the 2010 financial year was pleasing. The
Company remains well positioned to meet its customers’ needs and to
pursue further development of renewable generation opportunities when it
is economically justifiable.

ENDS

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