NGC boosts net earnings

NEW Zealand's NGC Holdings has increased its nine-month net earnings by 4.4% to NZ$61.3 million, including earnings for the latest March quarter which more than doubled from NZ$8 million to NZ$16.6 million.

NGC posted the results on the NZX this morning, with chairman Michael Stiassny saying the year-to- date earnings reflected a strong operational performance.

“NGC remains on target to achieve the NZ$81.5 million full-year earnings forecast disclosed in the Independent Adviser’s Report included in the Target Company Statement issued to shareholders in December 2004,” Stiassny said.

Year-to-date revenues improved by 3.7% to NZ$350.4 million and earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) increased by 10.3% to NZ$110.2 million, despite higher operating costs, depreciation and amortisation.

The EBIT improvement was partially offset by an increase from NZ$8.4 million to NZ$20.8 million in finance costs, reflecting the absence of debt for the first five months of the comparable previous nine-month period. Net earnings for the year-to-date benefited from the release of NZ$8.3 million following a reassessment of NGC’s deferred tax liabilities.

Stiassny said NGC's gas trading, gas liquids (including 60.25%-owned subsidiary Liquigas) and gas transportation businesses all made higher EBIT contributions. But the energy metering business contribution was static as increased revenues from an expanded asset base were offset by consequently higher operating costs and depreciation.

NGC has now moved to quarterly reporting, in line with its majority shareholder, Auckland energy networks company Vector.