2 Oct 2008

Power troubles drain Meridian profit

5:49 pm on 2 October 2008

Profits have shrunk dramatically at New Zealand's largest electricity company.

State-owned Meridian Energy has reported an after-tax annual profit of $128 million for the year to June, down by almost half on the previous year of $241 million.

Meridian admitted some months ago that it was making big losses during the autumn and winter power troubles, and this has now been confirmed in its annual report.

Meridian says problems caused by the prolonged drought were aggravated by reduced capacity on the Cook Strait cable and problems with thermal power stations in the North Island.

Despite its lower earnings, Meridian paid the State a dividend of almost $236 million, substantially higher than its net earnings