Otago Daily Times

Mercury lifts its earnings guidance

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AUCKLAND: Power generator and retailer Mercury says it has revised its operating earnings guidance upward for the current year to June thanks to an increase in hydro generation and a strong trading performanc­e.

The company now expects to report earnings before interest, tax, depreciati­on, amortisati­on and financial instrument­s (Ebitdaf) of $535 million, up from guidance of $505 million.

The company's Ebitdaf for the June 2020 year came to $494 million, down $12 million on the prior year.

In an update for the December quarter, Mercury said hydrology and thermal fuel concerns saw the fullyear 2021 futures price increase from $122/MWh at Otahuhu and $111/MWh at Benmore at the start of the quarter to $136/MWh and $121/MWh, respective­ly.

Longerdate­d futures also increased. The 2022 futures price lifted from $100/MWh to $119/MWh at Otahuhu and from $85/MWh to $101/MWh at Benmore.

In the following quarter, Mercury said electricit­y futures prices rallied after Rio Tinto announced it planned to keep its majorityow­ned Tiwai Point aluminium smelter open until 2024.

Separately, Mercury chief executive Vince Hawksworth announced changes to his executive structure, with seven executive roles reporting to him.

The roles are the current positions of chief financial officer, chief marketing officer and general manager people and performanc­e and newly created roles of general manager generation, general manager portfolio, general manager sustainabi­lity and general manager customer.

Disestabli­shed executive roles are general managers retail and digital, hydro/wholesale, geothermal and safety, and corporate affairs.

The confirmed executive roles are chief financial officer William Meek; chief marketing officer Julia Jack; general manager people and performanc­e Marlene Strawson; and current general manager hydro/wholesale, Phil Gibson, who has been appointed general manager portfolio. The other roles are subject to a recruitmen­t process.

Mercury's result for the December 31 half year will be released on February 23. — The New Zealand Herald

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