Insurance payment boosts Orion's result

1 July 2015

The final settlement of earthquake insurance claims has provided a $24m boost in profit for electricity distribution business, Orion New Zealand Limited.

The Christchurch-based company has posted an $83m profit after tax for the year ended
31 March 2015 – $32m above the previous year.

“We’re pleased to have concluded these complex insurance claims,” said chief executive Rob Jamieson. Including settlements in previous years, Orion’s insurance receipts have exceeded $53m.

“We’re investing far more than our insurance receipts to restore our network, to support the wider rebuild and to meet the needs of a changing region. We’ve invested over $80m in network related capex in each of the last two years, and we’ll top that again in the coming year. We’re investing more than $30m a year above normal capex levels,” said Mr Jamieson.

“For example, we’re investing in the east and north of Christchurch to complete our city-wide high voltage 66kV urban ring. This is needed to meet growth in the north and west of the city, and to restore network resilience for the whole city.”

Mr Jamieson said the company had managed its operating costs well during the year, with network operating and maintenance costs $1m lower than last year, despite high workloads.

Orion paid $56m of fully imputed dividends to its shareholders during the year, $22m more than last year. Orion’s shareholders are Christchurch City Holdings Limited, which is owned by the Christchurch City Council, and the Selwyn District Council.

Orion met the Commerce Commission’s requirements for network reliability during the year. On average, households had 1.2 network outages, and around two hours without power during the year. “That’s better than the New Zealand average but we’re not yet back to our pre-quake performance. Our aim is to restore our service to pre-quake levels by 2019. We’re on track to achieve that.

“A resilient and reliable power supply is very important for our region – for businesses and households. We all rely on electricity.”