2 Mar 2011

Mighty River power looks at investment opportunities

8:59 am on 2 March 2011

The publicly-owned power company Mighty River Power is examining investment opportunities overseas amid subdued domestic demand for electricity.

The electricity generator and retailer's underlying profit rose a modest 4% to $88.7 million due to higher interest costs and increased depreciation charges after revaluing its assets last year.

But earnings jumped 22% to $234 million and Mighty River chief executive Doug Heffernan says less reliance on hydro generation is stabilising revenue.

Customer numbers stood at 402,000 which Mighty River says gives it a market share of 20%, and the company has been active in attracting more users in the upper South Island.

Mr Heffernan says its international geothermal investment programme in partnership with GeoGlobal Energy in the US and Chile, and now into Germany, is going well.

He says GeoGlobal has a hand in developing eight different geothermal reservoirs reflecting the opportunities for international geothermal development.

Looking ahead, the company is picking full year gross earnings of $420-$435 million, compared with an earlier forecast of $391 million.

Mighty River's bottom line profit rose 15% to $85.2 million in the six months to December compared with the same period a year ago.

The company will pay the Government a dividend payout of $64.7 million, an increase of 15% on the previous period last year.