14 Aug 2009

Contact Energy takes profit hit

12:40 pm on 14 August 2009

Contact Energy's full year profit has halved due to higher prices to supply some customers, transmission constraints and the recession.

The electricity generator and retailer made $117.5 million in the year to June, a decrease of 50% on the same period a year ago. Revenue fell 20% to $2.2 billion.

The country's third largest listed company says it's been a victim of the weather.

The tail end of last year's dry winter meant it paid higher prices to rivals to supply its South Island customers, while higher rainfall over the rest of the 2008 and into 2009 saw generation prices fall heavily.

Profits were also hit by the loss of the gas fired plant in Taranaki and a switch to higher cost and more stringent gas contracts.

The situation has been compounded by the recession severely dampening demand.

Contact Energy shares fell more than 2% when the profit fall was announced, but recovered slightly in later trading.