19 Aug 2014

Meridian may return capital to shareholders

8:38 am on 19 August 2014

Meridian Energy is the second of the Government-controlled power companies planning to return capital to shareholders less than a year after they were floated.

Meridian Energy chief executive Mark Binns.

Photo: RNZ

In October last year, just a week before the Government's $1.88 billion sale of shares in Meridian closed, Mighty River Power announced it would buy back up to $50 million of its own shares over the following year.

That was less than five months after the Government sold just 48.24 percent of Mighty River Power for $1.7 billion.

Meridian has not said how much capital it would return or how it would return it, outlining the option as it reported a 22 percent drop in annual net profit to $230 million, reflecting one-off profit in the year-earlier result.

Stripping out one-off profits and other non-cash accounting adjustments, underlying profit was up more than 20 percent to nearly $195 million and that was also nearly 20 percent ahead of the prospectus forecast.

Meridian chief executive Mark Binns said the company had had very strong cashflows, it had sold land and other assets and the company now had very low debt levels.