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Meridian Energy Limited (NS) Analysis

Overview

As the country's main electricity generator and a significant retailer, Meridian is New Zealand's largest electricity company.

Meridian generates electricity from 100% renewable sources wind and water. The company generates approximately 30% of New Zealands electricity from its integrated chain of dams on the Waitaki River and Manapouri, which is the largest hydro power station in New Zealand, and four wind farms around the country.

Through the Meridian and Powershop brands, the company retails electricity to over 270,000 customer connections, including homes, businesses and farms around the country.

The company is committed to renewable energy and supporting the environments and communities where it operates. Meridian continues to focus on providing energy solutions that can help customers manage their energy use.

Meridian was incorporated in 1998 and began business in 1999, when Electricity Corporation of New Zealand Limited was split into three separate state enterprises: Meridian, Genesis and Mighty River. In this process, Meridian was allocated various South Island hydro assets. The company was listed on the NZX in October 2013 as part of the Governments Share Offer Programme. The Government retains 51% ownership of Meridian.

MEL has been granted Listing with a 'Non-Standard' ("NS") designation. This designation was granted because of provisions in MEL's constitution regulating the ownership and transfer of its Ordinary Shares due to the New Zealand government's shareholding. For further information, please see a copy of the waiver under Documents on Merdians' homepage on nzx.com

Performance

The following information was extracted from Meridian Energy Limited's half year results, released 28 February 2024:

Meridian Energy has reported net profit after tax (NPAT) of $191 million for the six months ended 31 December 2023, $10 million or 5% lower than the same period last year. The year-on-year reduction in NPAT is largely due to changes in the fair value of hedge instruments. Operating earnings (EBITDAF1) of $443 million increased by $18 million (4%) over the previous year, driven by higher retail and wholesale sales.

Meridian Energy Chief Executive Neal Barclay says he is particularly pleased with how the retail business is performing in extremely competitive market conditions: “This is a solid result overall, but the stand-out is a 3% lift in retail sales volumes over the same period last year. This increase was driven by the agribusiness and large business segments, up 9% and 6% respectively.”

Meridian continued to gain momentum in supporting industrial customers to convert to electric boilers, including recent agreements with Fonterra and Open Country Dairy. Meridian now has 891GWh of process heat either contracted or under memoranda of understanding.

“These deals are significant in terms of both sales volumes and their contribution to decarbonising our customers’ businesses and the New Zealand economy. Fonterra’s installation of a 20-megawatt electrode boiler at its Edendale site in Southland will reduce the facility’s emissions by around 20% or 47,500 tonnes of CO2e per annum – the equivalent of taking almost 20,000 cars off New Zealand roads,” says Barclay.

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